LaGrange City Council decided Tuesday to put off making a decision that would allow staff to look at the acquisition of four New Franklin Road properties, up to and including condemnation.
The properties, at 1306, 1308, 1310 and 1312 New Franklin Road are owned by Rosalind Nation, and are proposed to be used in the extension of the LaGrange bypass, from Mooty Bridge Road to Davis Road. The New Franklin Road properties are included in a section that would align Waugh Road with Ann Bailey Way, creating a seamless drive from Mooty Bridge to Davis.
A lawyer for Nation requested the council wait on allowing the staff to continue the acquisition until alternate routes could be proposed.
The house at 1312 New Franklin Road would be razed, but the others, which Nation rents, have occupants, and would wind up close to the right of way when the road construction is done.
“The impact on these families would be significant,” Jeremy Meeser, attorney for Nation, said. The tenants would likely have to move if the property is obtained by the city.
Mayor Jeff Lukken said the council’s intended action Tuesday would have only allowed the staff to have “all options available” when negotiating for the properties and wouldn’t necessarily mean condemnation.
The council has the authority under its charter to condemn property for public purposes. The property is outside the city limit.
“Once the vote is taken, the city can do what it wants,” Meeser said.
Council agreed to table the vote until more options could be explored.
Council also started the process Tuesday to refund a 2007 bond issue of the LaGrange Development Authority which was used to finance improvements to the Callaway South Industrial Park. Currently, the industrial park houses Saewon America Inc. which employs about 800 people. The bonds have an outstanding principal amount of about $4.6 million and have a current taxable interest rate of 6.11 percent. The new bonds, which were first authorized for refunding in July of this year, will carry a new interest rate of 2.6 percent. The net savings in interest cost over the remaining 13-year term of the bond issue will be $1,057,414.
The bond issue was originally completed by the LaGrange Development Authority with financial backing provided by the LaGrange and Troup County governments equally. Under the terms of the agreement, the annual savings will benefit the city and county approximately $80,000 per year, $40,000 to each government, for the next 13 years.
In the event the LaGrange Development Authority sells property within the park during any time then the new proceeds from the sale of property would be used to pay the city and Troup County back for any principal and interest payments made on the bond up to that point.
“We think this is a win-win for everyone,” City Manager Tom Hall said. “Both the city and county are going to save substantial money over the next several years and we continue to be positioned to support investment in job creation and economic development for LaGrange and Troup County.”
The transaction is scheduled to close Aug. 24.