Live Oak —
A few months ago, you might have met me. I was at the Suwannee County Fairgrounds encouraging people to sign a petition. The purpose of the petition was to get the Board of County Commissioners to vote “yes” in favor of bringing an unknown company into Suwannee County that would create new jobs. The reason the company was unknown was because they required confidentiality as one of the negotiating points.
Now we know who and what. The company is called Klausner Lumber One, LLC, and their home office is in Austria, with satellite offices in India and China. Klausner wants the county to purchase and give to them free of charge, two tracts of land west of Live Oak on Highway 90, consisting of 120 acres for their facility and another 55 acres to use as a buffer zone, at a cost of $1.1 million to the county. Then, Klausner wants the county to prepare the property for their use, a site prep cost at $2.2 million to you, the taxpayer. This brings your share to $3,300,000.
They’ve also negotiated more of your tax dollars from the State. Not much, just $12,096,000. Their representative calls this grant money. But isn’t grant money still money that originated from taxpayers? They’re also expecting an additional $60,000,000 in grants or bond funds from the State. This $60,000,000 will be used by Klausner for planning, designing, constructing and importing equipment for the facility. The State will also grant Klausner $1,260,000 to train their employees. It’s all in their contract to the county! The State, at our expense, will four lane US 90 to 169th Street, 169th Street will be reconstructed with wider lanes, and a new three-lane road approximately a half mile long will be built between the new facility and 169th Street. All roads thereafter will be maintained by the State and the county (again, YOU). These roads on peak days will carry 1,360 trucks. Can you imagine living out Highway 90 close to the noise or even traveling out Highway 90? Stand by any highway and try to count 1,300 vehicles.