June 7, 2017
The Monticello News recently printed an article titled, “City to Purchase Megasite for Water, Growth” Even though the Monticello News reported “the purchase WILL be made through USDA grants and loans,” there has NOT been a grant nor a loan application submitted to the USDA by the City of Monticello. The land acquisition has been discussed in executive session only. This is NOT a done deal, yet.
Why wasn’t the location of this new proposed Megasite detailed in the article? Where is the site? The site is 705 acres currently owned by CKG Partnership and located to the south of Monticello bordering Highway 11 on the east, Feldspar Rd. on the south, and Perimeter Rd. (380) on the north.
This parcel of land is valued at $1,309,900 on the Jasper County tax books, and the property taxes collected each year are approximately $18,000. Did you know that if the City buys this property, there will no longer be property taxes collected on it?
The asking price for the site (705 acres) is $3,295,000 and it is being offered by Macallan Real Estate. Is this the price the City is willing to pay for this property? The City appears to have a pending contract on this site. What is the amount of the contract? Why can’t the citizens see a copy of the contract?
The City says they will borrow enough money to pay for the site and water lines, but they are unsure of how long it will take to run the lines. How much will the water lines and the land acquisition to run them cost? Surely, the City Council members have an idea of the cost.
What will be the total amount of this 40-year loan? Why is it a secret from the very people that will be paying for it?
Can the City go through JCWSA designated territory without paying a “wheeling fee” for each gallon of water, or will JCWSA take the City to court as they did with Alcovy Shores Water to “claim their territory?”
Exactly what will be the amount of the 40-year loan and what will the interest rate be? A low interest loan can still cost thousands of dollars a month. The current 40-year USDA loan the JCWSA is paying is almost $11,000 a month.
Where will the City of Monticello get the money to pay the loan when they can not afford to have a police department any longer? Will the citizens of Monticello suffer higher utility bills, higher property taxes, or both? Will the COUNTY taxpayers, in the name of economic development, soon be saddled with this loan payment?
Will 2 million gallons of water a day (mgd), the amount the article states is permitted at the site, be able to provide “ALL THE WATER NEEDED” for current needs, growth needs, and industrial expansion? How far will 2 mgd of water go if 400 acres will be used for industrial development, as stated in the article?
Citizens have been led to believe that “more development will lower our taxes.” Did you know that every time new industry is brought to the county, they are given 10 years of tax breaks—no property taxes to be paid, as well as low interest loans? For at least 10 years there will be no property tax revenue from the new industry to pay for the USDA loan. The citizens that are already here will foot the bill. How much will it be? Again, can the people that live in Monticello afford it? With what resources will this loan be paid?
There are already many local businesses closing and/or leaving the Square; have these businesses been offered tax incentives or help? It seems that there is always money available for outside businesses to come here, while our own Jasper County businesses are left to struggle on their own.
The Megasite sounds exciting, but the devil is always in the details. It is the details that the public, the ones that will pay for it, should know up front, and not after they are saddled with 40 years of debt.
Citizens, be informed and stay informed! Only by being informed, can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County. That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.