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Liberty panel signs onto multi-county development pact

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POSTED: March 26, 2010 10:39 a.m.
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Ron Tolley

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The Liberty County Development Authority approved a motion to enter into an intergovernmental agreement that would secure a joint marketing arrangement between four counties in Coastal Georgia, allowing them to work cooperatively to pitch the benefits of the region to potential business partners.
“We think it’s a wonderful opportunity to do some cooperative ventures,” CEO Ron Tolley said Monday of the Savannah Gateway Coalition, which is comprised of the development authorities of Bryan, Chatham, Effingham and Liberty counties. Tolley said the authorities have worked together in the past on an ad hoc basis on tours for project managers, site selection consultants and prospects.
“The coalition has existed for some time on an informal basis but it is now adding a bit of organization and formality to the effort,” he said.
Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas expressed some concern about language in the agreement that asks the county groups to share with one another any information they receive on a potential business venture.
Tolley clarified that the information is limited to contact information for parties who approach a county authority as the result of a cooperatively planned event or meeting. Any information related to potential business dealings will remain private, between the interested party and the county authority that has been approached, he said.
“The intent [of the agreement] was a broad framework to bring the parties together,” LCDA attorney Kelly Davis said. “I can clarify it to specify that only contact information will be shared.”
Chairman Alan Brown, who will sign the intergovernmental agreement on behalf of the authority, offered to discuss proposed policies and guidelines with the board before signing off on them.
Board member Paul Krebs did not support the agreement, saying he thinks the initiative is discriminatory. “It pits certain counties against others,” Krebs said. “I don’t see the door open to everybody.”
 

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