Decatur Co. asks IDA for help with demand for natural gas

Published 10:35 pm Friday, September 19, 2014

With an anticipated increase in demand for natural gas in the Decatur County Industrial Park, the county has made plans to increase capacity to meet that demand.

During the Development Authority of Bainbridge and Decatur County board meeting Thursday, Decatur County Administrator Gary Breedlove laid out the county’s expansion plans and asked the authority to participate in financing that expansion.

According to Breedlove, existing natural gas customers are currently served by a four-inch gas line coming into the park from Brinson Airbase Road, on the north side of the park.

Email newsletter signup

Increased natural gas demand is anticipated from the opening and subsequent operation of Bainbridge Manufacturing, an expansion at the John B. Sanfilippo & Son plant, and the eventual opening of the Corrections Corporation of America facility. In addition, an Oxford Construction has requested access to natural gas for their asphalt plant, located across Highway 27 from the Industrial Park.

The proposed expansion would bring in five miles of eight-inch pipe at 90 pounds-per-square-inch pressure. The new line would still originate, like the existing four-inch line, from the Chattahoochee Valley Line operated by Southern Natural Gas Company.

“The county is going to put in an eight-inch line. It would be helpful, from an economic development standpoint, to have the IDA participate financially in this expansion,” Breedlove said to the IDA board. “There is significant change in the demand for natural gas because it’s cheaper and generally more plentiful.”

Breedlove indicated the total cost of the expansion would be roughly $800,000.

The county asked that the IDA contribute $300,000 of that cost.

“I do think this is something that the Development Authority needs to be a part of,” board chairman Keith Lyle said. “Let’s see if we can get some type of revenue and usage numbers resulting from the expansion. We can then explore all our options on the financing, whether that be by issuing bonds or pursuing grant funding, or a combination.”

One possible avenue of financing the expansion, according to Lyle, is for the IDA to issue revenue bonds and have the county guarantee the repayment of the bonds. This is the same approach taken by the IDA and the City of Bainbridge to facilitate the purchase of the building now occupied by Bainbridge Manufacturing, Lyle indicated.

The IDA board took no action on the funding request, but agreed to wait until the county could provide more detailing revenue and usage figures on the expanded offering of natural gas to industrial park customers. The board would then decide how to fund the requested $300,000 contribution toward the project.