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County to lease space to new businesses

Decatur County will soon welcome two new businesses that will lease space at the Industrial Air Park, located off U.S. 27 North.

Biopolymer manufacturer Meredian Inc., the sister company of renewable plastics developer DaniMer, will lease the plant formerly occupied by American Fibers and Yarns.

The lease agreement also includes an option for Meredian to buy the space it will occupy.

Commissioners also voted unanimously to lease 0.39 acres at the air park to an aircraft maintenance shop.

Although the county’s Development Authority still has to give its OK later this week, County Administrator Tom Patton said he is excited about the potential for both businesses.

Although he didn’t mention the businesses by name on Tuesday morning, Patton said Meredian is a “green, future-type” business that he believes will be very successful in manufacturing the raw materials other companies will use in a variety of environmentally-friendly products.

Patton said he believed filling the previous absence of a local aircraft maintenance shop will result in increased business at the county’s Air Park, which offers flight-related services to pilots and sells aircraft fuel.

Update on voting precinct proposal

Ray Chambers, chairman of the Decatur County Board of Elections and Registration, updated commissioners on a proposal to combine some of the county’s 14 voting precincts.

Chambers said elections officials have attempted to solicit adequate public input by holding seven public hearings, two Board of Elections meetings and one special called meeting concerning the proposal.

The proposal would consolidate the existing 14 precincts into just nine, for cost efficiency and accessibility reasons, Chambers said previously.

The voting places proposed to be kept open would be known as the Attapulgus, Climax, Mount Pleasant, Fairgrounds, Coliseum, West Bainbridge, Brinson, Kendrick and Recovery precincts.

On Tuesday, he presented commissioners with an estimated cost of $53,000 to upgrade the remaining precincts to make the remaining precincts accessible to physically disabled persons. The cost could be mostly offset by a $50,000 grant from the State of Georgia that the elections board recently applied for.

Commissioners Mosely and Smith praised the Board of Elections and its staff for listening to citizens’ input and incorporating it into a revised precinct consolidation map.

Commissioners partially approve D.A.’s requests

Commissioners voted unanimously to temporarily suspend the $1,200 in rent the District Attorney’s office pays to occupy most of the Courthouse Annex at 122 W. Water St.

Following a recommendation of commissioners’ finance committee, the suspension of rent will apply to the months of April, May and June; however, rent for the rest of the year will be considered at a later date.

Commissioners also voted unanimously to allot the District Attorney’s office 10 percent of money realized from assets Sheriff’s deputies, state troopers and others seize from illegal drug dealers. The decision would not apply to assets seized by Bainbridge Public Safety and would likely only net the D.A.’s office an average of about $1,500 per year in revenue. According to Smith, Sheriff Wiley Griffin agreed to share the forfeiture money.

As part of the decision, commissioners agreed to amend their current fiscal year’s budget to reduce $3,600 from its legislative contingency fund, which currently totals about $96,000, according to Commissioner Earl Perry.