County commission approves tax abatement agreement with Georgia Pacific’s Brewton mill

Published 1:51 pm Monday, June 12, 2023

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In a unanimous vote on Monday, members of the Escambia County Commission approved a tax abatement agreement with Georgia Pacific’s Brewton mill.
Commission Chairman Raymond Wiggins thanked those GP officials present for the meeting for their continued investment in the county.
“The commission is pleased that Georgia-Pacific is making improvements  to the plant here,” Wiggins said. “This may not bring new jobs, but it is security for the jobs that are there.”
Georgia-Pacific had announced previously that the company would be completing additions and improvements to the Brewton mill to the tune of $160 million.
Commissioner Larry White told GP officials that having their plant in the county helps everyone.
“We appreciate Georgia Pacific,” White said. “We hope you understand what you mean to our county.”
Commissioners also agreed to make some changes in the speed limits in two areas of that county where residents had complained of speeding.
In Commissioner White’s district, the speed limit on Friendship Road will change from 25 miles per hour to 15 miles per hour for the entire length of the road.
“I have a petition from residents in that area asking for the change,” White told commissioners. “It is a dirt road that does get quite a lot of use. Currently the speed limit is 25 miles per hour through the residential area and 35 miles per hour outside that posted area. The residents there would like to see that change to 15 miles per hour.”
Sheriff Heath Jackson noted that the area does have a lot of traffic and there have been many complaints in his office concerning the speeders.
“We have had numerous speeding complaints from that area,” Jackson said. “The 25 miles per hour is way too fast in that area. The weather changes the condition of roads like that and I think 15 miles per hour makes more sense. Keeping that speed limit on the full road and not just a portion will make sure there is no confusion on what the speed limit is.”
In another area of the county, Wiggins noted that residents along Pineview Road in his district were asking for some help with speeders as well.
“I have had several calls about speeding in that residential area,” Wiggins said. “The speed limit is at 35 miles per hour on that road that is partially paved and partially dirt. Where the pavement meets the dirt is a dangerous curve and there is a home there. I propose that we lower the speed limit there to 25 miles per hour to make it safe for travelers and residents.”
Jackson again agreed that a lower speed would benefit everyone who travels the road.
“I do believe that lowering the speed limit on both of those roads would be the best for everyone who uses the roads,” Jackson said. “When you transition from dirt to asphalt you can have some problems so I think this is a great plan.”
Jackson also took the opportunity to remind everyone that the Sheriff’s Office will be looking at all speeders, including residents of the areas set for the changes.
“We will have an equal opportunity for all when we write tickets,” Jackson said.
In other business Monday, the commission:
• approved a resolution for Trustmark custody accounts;
• approved ARPA funds for net purchase cost of 12 dump trucks;
• approved a resolution for use of ARPA funds for purchase of cyber security software;
• approved a resolution designating ECATS as agency for Section 5311 program;
• approved a competitive bid for transit van for Sheriff’s Office;
• approved an agreement with the sheriff for compensation for duties related to the animal shelter;
• approved an agreement between ECATS and the Area Agency on Aging;
• approved the disposal of surplus shotguns and rifles with the Sheriff’s Office;
• approved moving to an on-line payment method for the Escambia County Tax Collector.