SWGA gets millions in OneGeorgia awards - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

SWGA gets millions in OneGeorgia awards

August 27, 2003

Albany- Governor Sonny Perdue began his day touring Calltech Communications, one of the dozens of businesses that have benefited from OneGeorgia grants.

"This is a great success story right here. Over five hundred jobs in Albany as a result of participation with OneGeorgia in a company and also tax policies that we did with Bellsouth years ago in encouraging them to expand their high tech capacity throughout the state," says Perdue.

After his visit, Perdue and the OneGeorgia Authority Board recognized the recipients of the latest round of grant and loan awards. $3 million will go to Southwest Georgia counties.

The Crisp County-Cordele Industrial Development Authority is hoping its $500,000.00 loan will attract new industry.

"It's wonderful, it's a God send for us. It will enable us to build a one hundred thousand square foot speculative building and bring projects and jobs to Cordele," says Bruce Drennon of the Cordele Industrial Development Council.

Tifton also got a loan to help expand its CityNet telecommunications network. "There was a gap between the city of Tifton out to this park, and along the way there is some other businesses that will share in the high speed internet service," says Mayor Paul Johnson.

Pulaski, Telfair, Ben Hill, and Thomas Counties also got money.

"I hope one day that no county in Southwest Georgia will even be eligible for this program because we would have brought enough jobs the we're not considered poor any more. I think that's a great dream and OneGeorgia will help us accomplish that," admits Lt. Governor Mark Taylor.

With the 700 new jobs and 350 existing jobs the awards will pay for, that dream is even closer to becoming a reality.

The state's share of the tobacco settlement money is used to fund OneGeorgia awards for 71 of Georgia's poorest counties. All Southwest Georgia counties qualify for the money.

The OneGeorgia Authority board is also fighting to save Georgia's military bases.

$500,000.00 of OneGeorgia money will be used to for a Base Realignment and Closure Commission study. Lawmakers will seek out the best ways to keep Georgia's bases including Albany's Marine Corps Logistics Base off the closure list.

"We kind of like to do our job as best we can and let BRAC take care of itself. I'm not going to say it is not on our minds, we are certainly concerned about it, because we feel that this base provides a valuable asset to the Marine Corps and to the Department of Defense," says Col. Joseph Wingard.

"If we lose this base then there is really no way to explain to the average person how they will be effected," adds Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor.

MCLB has already survived 3 rounds of base closures. 25% of the bases across the country will be shut down by September 2005.

Posted at 5:40 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com