VALDOSTA -- The Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority voted to accept the amended budget amount approved by the city and county at its meeting Tuesday.

With only three of the five members present, the Authority reduced its budget by $82,000 to the $460,000 approved for fiscal year 2004-05. The Authority receives a portion of the hotel/motel tax for its funding.

With John Peeples absent, only Crawford Powell, Carolyn Eager and acting chairman Martin Miller were present to vote. Jerry Jennett, the appointee approved by the county commission, attended the meeting in a spectator role only. His fate is expected to be decided by the City Council at its meeting Thursday after nearly three months of disagreement between the city and county over the joint appointment.

The Authority members heard updates on the following projects:

Project Sprinkler, a California company, will host delegates from the Authority at its home office in August. The company is looking at a site in the Azalea City Industrial Park;

Project Corner is interested in locating a large distribution center in the Azalea West Business Park, and company representatives are working on potential site plans;

Project Butter is a company interested in purchasing an existing business in Lowndes County currently for sale by its owner. The company is submitting a bid for the property and the Authority anticipates knowing if the bid was accepted by its August meeting.

In other business:

The Authority voted to approve spending approximately $10,000 to upgrade the infrastructure at the Perimeter East Industrial Park which would benefit Southern Warehousing and future development;

The Authority voted to amend the sale price of land in the Lake Park Industrial Park to Project Lab from $16,000 to $13,500 plus administrative and closing fees due to the company's proposed investment;

The Authority made a motion which carried unanimously to approve conducting due diligence on a tract of land in the Lake Park Industrial Park which the owner wishes to sell. The Authority has the right to purchase the land back at the original selling price, less expenses to restore it to its original condition;

The Authority voted to approve selling one acre in the Lake Park Industrial Park to Project Willow, an existing industry, for use as a distribution center for products sold on the Internet. The company will invest $220,000. The board voted to offer them one acre for $14,250 plus legal fees and to give them the right of first refusal on an adjacent tract of nearly two acres.

Attorney Steve Gupton and the staff are scheduling a meeting with county manager Joe Pritchard, the county engineers, Ben Futch of Super Cooker and his engineers, and representatives of Ocean Pond to address drainage issues at the Lake Park Industrial Park.

To contact Business Editor Kay Harris, please call 244-3400, ext. 280.

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