In two months, less than 60 days away, Wiregrass Power LLC is supposed to break ground on the biomass facility in Lowndes County. By now, they are supposed to have contracts with power companies to sell the electricity to and with suppliers to purchase the wood waste. They have neither, nor does the company have an agreement with the city of Valdosta to purchase the wastewater from the sewage treatment plant.Well, the City of Valdosta could refuse to sell the wastewater. And maybe the Lowndes County Commission could exercise its fiduciary responsibility. But, sure, the Industrial Authority could just say no.
And yet the folks at the Industrial Authority appear to be rather nonchalant about the fact that this company has yet again broken its agreement. They have the power to renogiate the terms of the agreement and they also have the power to cancel it, but neither is happening. Instead, they are giving the company all the leeway they need to continue dragging this project along that the community doesn’t want.Folks? Like Col. Ricketts? But remember, he and Lame-Duck Lofton are only following policies set by their board. The picture on the right may or may not be of the VLCIA board negotiating with somebody, because, remember Col. Ricketts informed us,
“These agreements are made with utilities under a non-disclosure clause, due to the competitive nature of utilities and pricing for energy sources.”And after all, Brad Lofton informed us, saying they have a public-private partnership with Wiregrass Power LLC. But why is it exactly that an appointed board spending $3 million of our tax dollars every year can hold secret negotiations with who knows whom?
Back to the VDT’s opinion:
Perhaps with the imminent departure of the Authority’s executive director, the appointed members of the Authority board may see things in a different light.Perhaps. But so far he doesn’t seem to be gone yet. And he’s not even the source of VLCIA’s policies.
Onwards to the larger issues, in the last paragraph of the VDT’s editorial:
And perhaps the Industrial Authority will begin to again recruit viable industries while taking care of the industries currently here, which repeatedly have proven to be the source of most new jobs in the area. It shouldn’t take too much effort to replace the 45 jobs that will be lost if the plant doesn’t come to fruition.You know if the Industrial Authority spent half as much PR effort supporting local industries old and new, we wouldn’t have to waste years hearing about a deader like a biomass plant or an even worse idea like a private prison. And if the Industrial Authority actually listened to the numerous people around the county and the country who are trying to help it do research, it would have a better idea when to cut its losses and move on to better pastures. Maybe the Industrial Authority could even invite some of those same people to help it put parameters on the types of industry it recruits.