BOC report to regional commission positive
By Stephanie Johns
Morgan County Commissioner Andy Ainslie apprised those present at the monthly meeting of the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission (NEGRC) in Athens of several projects going on in the county.
He said there is a light at the end of the tunnel as far as property values go: a 5 percent decrease for this year is anticipated.
“We seem to have hit the low,” he said. “We think and projections are that that may be the bottom.”
He added that the housing market is recovering.
“Inventory is filling up, banks are saying there are very few properties out there,” he said. “We think we’ve hit the bottom as far as economics goes in Madison, Morgan County.”
He also mentioned the agricultural forum and hopes of tweaking communication between the ag community and county government.
“Morgan County is truly an agricultural community,” he said. “It’s somewhere between a $60 and $65 million impact each year on our economy just from the ag community.”
Caterpillar has impacted the community already and Baxter International will impact the community in future, he said.
“Baxter’s going to have a real impact on Morgan County,” he said, noting that that company will have about 1,500 employees. “That is one of the reasons some of our houses already have filled up.”
As to the county’s recycling efforts, Ainslie reported that the county currently spends about $30,000 a month to move garbage out of the county.
“There’s a real initiative to try to cut back lumber products, plastic, take that out of the stream and put it in the recycling for Morgan County,” he said.
Over the next three or four months the county hopes to reduce that $30,000 garbage bill by at least $5,000 or $6,000, he said.
The City of Madison and Morgan County continue to negotiate for Local Options Sales Tax (LOST) money.
“We’re still a good ways apart,” he said. “A judge has been selected. More than likely that will go to court probably in April and we’ll get some results then.”
The county also has received a $263,000 Federal Hazardous Mitigation Grant to build a shelter to hold 200 people. He said that should get underway “very, very soon.”
Printed in the March 14, 2013 edition