TCSS approves MOU for major project: Governor expected to announce more details soon

Published 5:00 pm Friday, October 16, 2020

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During Thursday night’s Troup County School Board meeting, the board approved a memorandum of understanding with the Development Authority of LaGrange for “Project Greenfield,” a new start-up business expected to locate in LaGrange that projects to bring about 400 jobs over five years.

The board approved the MOU without ever actually receiving it, according to board discussion Thursday night.

“We don’t have that here tonight,” said Board Chairman Kirk Hancock. “Is this something that because of our calendar that they need our approval? I don’t see the document here this evening.”

Superintendent Brian Shumate said the board’s approval was needed to move forward, as TCSS is typically the last of the governing bodies involved to improve this type of agreement. Shumate said the formal document could be brought back to the board the next month.

Project Greenfield was first discussed during Monday night’s school board work session.

At that meeting, LaGrange Development Authority President T. Scott Malone attended Monday and asked the board to approve the memorandum of understanding and provided a few details as to what the project is. 

Malone said the new business, who was not identified, is being offered a tax abatement through the PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) program. 

He said the project is expected to be a $240 million investment from a start-up business. 

The business would grow tens of millions heads of lettuce in 300,000 square foot buildings.

 The governor’s office is supposed to officially announce the project soon.

“It’s a gamechanger for our community going forward,” Malone said.

Malone said the project was a chance for Troup County to diversify by adding a project that isn’t in the automotive or textile industry.

Malone said a memorandum of understanding with the school system was among the final steps.

On Monday, Hancock asked Malone to speak more specifically about the process for determining the tax abatement. Malone referenced a pre-approved matrix, already put in place by the various governing bodies that allows them to move forward without getting “bogged down.”

Malone said the project will result in $10 million in property taxes for the county, with $6 million going to the school system. 

Malone said the property used for the project will be off of Upper Big Springs Road on land currently owned by the city. Since the city currently owns the property, no property tax is being collected from that land at this time. Malone said the project will likely be located on the back side of Jim Hamilton Industrial Park.