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February 21, 2014

First vote of confidence for CSH bills

MILLEDGEVILLE —

Central State Hospital Local Redevelopment Authority (CSHLRA) Chair Quay Hurt Fuller described the House State Properties Committee meeting accurately during Wednesday's board meeting.

“It's been a good day in Atlanta for us,” she said.

House Bill 495, with sponsorship by state Rep. Emory Dunahoo, was introduced and successfully passed through the House properties committee Wednesday afternoon.

The bill now moves to the House Rules Committee and should be on the floor for a vote next week.

CSHLRA Executive Director Mike Couch called HB 495 “our market ready bill.” He thanked Dunahoo and state Rep. Rusty Kidd for helping the legislation.

State Properties Commission (SPC) director Steve Stancil said the current process to transfer state-owned property to a private entity carries an average closing time of 520 days.

“Once the bill gets passed by the House and the Senate, we have the ability to go out and actually look at these properties to a threshold of a half-million dollars after appraisal,” Couch said. “We can work and make deals directly with the State Properties Commission. They can be approved out of session, which is a significant change in the way we do business. It's not just going to be effective for Milledgeville. It's going to be effective for the entire state of Georgia.”

HB 495 was submitted as constructed last session with one amendment.

In the language as written, any Georgia Representative or Senator could veto a state property transaction.

The accepted change lets only the state delegates that have the particular property in their district veto the action.

“It will keep it more or a pure transactional basis, and for lack of a better term, keep politics out of it,” Couch said Wednesday.

The second key to unlock stagnant Central State campus land totaling 2,134 acres is Senate Bill 788 or the State Property Omnibus legislation.

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