Live Oak —
The Suwannee County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously 5-0 Tuesday night at their regular meeting to deny an offer by “Project Rock-n-roll” to locate at the catalyst site. The board cited concerns regarding the capital investment, number of potential jobs created and the price offered for the property as their reasons for denying the proposal.
According to County Administrator Randy Harris, the proposed company, referred to as “Project Rock and Roll”, was seeking 24 acres at the catalyst site. Harris labeled the company as a supplier of construction related material.
The company offered Suwannee County $8,000 per acre. Commissioner Jason Bashaw said he believed the property was worth more than the proposed offer.
“We have to recoup what we have invested out there or at least close to it,” Bashaw said.
The company originally submitted vague information to the county. When Harris requested more information, he did not receive it until Friday before the meeting, so the documents were not attached to the commissioner’s agenda packets. The documents received stated the parent company and its subsidiaries currently employ nine people.
According to a brief description of the project by the company, it would be freighting material to the facility; preparing and packaging, and shipping of local and imported natural resources.
The company planned to create 13 new full-time equivalent jobs at the Suwannee County site, with a projected average salary of $33,000, excluding benefits. The company proposed to hire eight warehouse operators with an average salary of $27,850. The company also anticipated hiring five drivers with an average salary of $41,000.
The capital investment in connection with the project was estimated at $1 million. This includes the construction of a new 7,000 square-foot facility, buying new equipment and more.
The company stated they are also considering Oklahoma and New York as potential locations.
Economic Development Consultant Dennis Cason told the board the company needed a quick decision.
“The company has product stored in a surrounding county and needs to act quick,” Cason said.
Harris told the board his staff is still working on a recommendation for the board regarding the minimum criteria a company must meet to locate on the county’s property at the catalyst site.
“We are still working on the criteria that I had previously discussed with you about minimum thresholds for job creation and capital investment on the property the county owns at the catalyst site,” Harris said. “You will note there are not a great number of jobs included in this proposal or a very substantial investment.”
He continued, “I believe that this is going to be, largely, a storage yard for some natural resource or product that will be shipped out. That will probably take up the majority of the 24 acres of the property if the board agrees to this offer.”
Chairman Phil Oxendine said his concerns were the price the proposed company is offering for the site, the number of jobs they’re seeking to create, and the capital investment they’re planning to invest.
“I think what we need to do is, as soon as possible, come up with a plan, a minimum of what we want out there as far as jobs and capital investment,” Oxendine said. “I would hate to sell that property for that kind of money, for that kind of investment.”
For now, the board voted unanimously to deny the offer from the proposed company. However, they can resubmit an offer to be considered at a later date.