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Split commission ‘commits’ to pipeline

The Pike County Board of Commissioners is committed to bringing a natural gas line to serve the industrial corridor on Highway 41 but how the nearly $1 million project will be funded is undecided. At a called meeting July 31, a divided board voted to give a “letter of commitment” supporting the gas line. But commissioners have yet to hammer out who will pay for the project and how. Yancey Engineered Systems wanted the letter of commitment from county officials before deciding whether to launch a $2.2 million expansion at its Pike facility or move to McDonough. Yancey threatened to leave Pike if natural gas was not supplied to its site. Voting in favor of the letter of commitment were commissioners Don Collins and Parrish Swift. Commissioners Tommy Powers and Roosevelt Willis voted against it. Chairman Doug Mangham then cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of the letter of commitment. But all Pike commissioners voted in favor of forming a committee to research funding options for the natural gas line. Pike officials previously heard a presentation about Atlanta Gas Light’s low-interest financing program called Georgia SEED. Obtaining grants, creating a tax allocation district and partnering with entities who would profit from the gas line venture are possible funding options.

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