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Pipeline proposal postponed

The Industrial Development Authority of Pike County presented a proposal regarding a Natural Gas Line Project to the Pike County Board of Commissioners this morning at a special called meeting at 9 a.m. The cost of the gas line’s extension into Pike County is now at $475,124. Commissioners voted to postpone a decision on the pipeline until further cost sharing contributions can be confirmed or denied from Yancey Brothers. Tommy Powers and Don Collins opposed the postponement and chairman Doug Mangham broke the tie to end the meeting. Development Authority Chairman Randy Schultz presented a proposal outlining a route for the project from Five Points Road in Lamar County north to Etheridge Mill Road in Pike County. After much discussion and negotiation with Atlanta Gas Light (AGL) the cost of the project is estimated to be approximately $475,124. The cost was reduced from the previously reported cost estimate of $1,648,222 as a result of a funding program available from the Public Service Commission (PSC) and AGL called the Intergrated Customer Growth Program (ICGP). The program is aimed at extending natural gas lines to unserved areas of Georgia including strategic corridors. ”There is a limited amount of funding available and we need to act quickly in order to have these funds allocated against our project,” said Development Authority of Pike County executive director Karen Brown. “Bringing the natural gas line to the industrial corridor would be a huge benefit to the county in that it would provide much needed infrastructure.” Commissioner Collins said the decision should be made in a timely manner in order to secure grant money for the project. ”We’re looking at losing right at about $1 million through the Integrated Customer Growth Program if we don’t make this decision,” said Collins. “It’s my feeling that over the life of the 10-year program, taxpayers are not going to shoulder much of the cost. Three entities have already agreed to tie on and thereby reduce the cost. It’s reasonable to assume there will be others as well.” Commissioner Swift said Yancey Brothers has lost several projects in excess of $1 million each because of they lack a natural gas line and they should help cover the cost of the pipeline extension. ”I’m in favor of trying to improve our infrastructure at what appears to be a very good price,” said Swift. “But I would like to see a 50-50 cost share from Yancey Brothers.” Brown said three industries along the corridor will immediately utilize the natural gas once it is installed and those hook-ups will be credited to the project and further reduce the cost.

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