Executive Director Andrea Schruijer explained the Industrial Authority's theory behind all those industrial parks. And she mentioned market analysis for a sustainable local economy. Nothing about market analysis about whether industrial parks actually bring in new businesses....
Valdosta CEO posted 28 NOvember 2012, Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority Invests in Land Development For Future Industries,
Andrea Schruijer, Executive Director of the Valdosta Lowndes County Industrial Authority. A few years ago the community had the foresight to approve a mill that they would set aside for the Industrial Authority to provide for economic development. And because the community did that, the industrial authority is able to better plan for the future in growing our opportunities for economic development. One of the things that we noticed a few years ago is that we didn't have enough land for development. And we didn't have the right sized tracks in case we had a large user coming in looking at the community, where would we put them?
According to Finance Director Stephanie Black, millage will increase by 1 mill, to be dedicated to the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority. By doing this, the one mill will show separately from county millage on citizens' tax bills.
The County Commission's own minutes for their Regular Session of 26 June 2007 don't have that level of detail; they merely say:
Two Resolutions to Approve FY 2008 Budget, Chairman Casey requested that the adoption of the proposed budget be addressed. Commissioner Roberts made a motion to adopt the FY 2008 budget as presented, Commissioner Lee second. Motion carried.
However, it's pretty clear it wasn't "the community" that approved that millage: it was the County Commission, with little public discussion. I suppose Andrew Schruijer wasn't around when all that happened, or when Gary Minchew talked about it, so maybe she doesn't know.
And that $15 million in bonds to buy land that will end up costing $23.5 million weren't approved by the community; those bonds were rushed through the County Commission with little forethought or public process.
Still, probably developing industrial parks is better than the sort of sweetheart land-swap through a private owner deal her predecessor organized for that private prison project. However, given their other big former project, the biomass plant, wasn't sited in a business park either, it would be interesting to see a marketing study about the effectiveness of business parks in attracting new industry, not to mention what kinds of industry do they attract.
She continues about other things they've done to develop those business parks. And at the end she mentions this:
And because we have the product, we started doing the target market analysis to make sure that we recruit the right industries to help us maintain a sustainable economy here in Valdosta Lowndes County and our region.
And as we've seen, VLCIA saying it's for sustainable solar power and broad band Internet is good for PR, and VLCIA's market analysis said people here want those things and they will be good for the local economy. Once again I applaud Andrea Schruijer for getting out in public and talking about what VLCIA is doing.
Here's the video:
PS: Valdosta CEO, please hire a copyeditor who knows the difference between tract and track, site and sight. She said tract; your transcription reads track.