Lee development deal could mean tax relief - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Lee development deal could mean tax relief

June 8, 2006

Lee County  --- Hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue could be on the way to Lee County as officials negotiate the purchase of county property for development. That's good news for taxpayers in South Georgia's fastest growing county.

 Florida developer Charles Vaughn offered Lee County $2.3 million dollars for these 16 acres of land off Cartmell Drive, beside the WalMart in Lee County. He has already bought the four acres beside Fairway Toyota on Ledo Road.

Development authority officials asked for $92,000 more, and think the deal will be worked out soon.

Within five years there could be dozens of new businesses on this site, producing hundreds of jobs and tax relief for home owners. Lee County Development Authority Executive Director Winston Oxford said "We're projecting between a million and a half and maybe two million dollars a year in sales tax."

 Lee County is the fastest growing county in South Georgia, with three new people moving in a day, and 500 new homes a year. Oxford said "Commercial investment is following that residential growth, and it's going to continue."

 The county is suffering growing pains providing services for the fast growing population, but this commercial growth could ease the tax burden now carried by home owners. Oxford said "I really think the future for Lee County as far as commercial investment is concerned, is very bright over the next three to five years."

Lee County development officials say this is just the latest project, predicting the business build up is just getting started.

Oxford said he is working with several big box businesses looking to open stores in Lee County, along Ledo Road and U.S. 82 west.

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