Settlement Agents Perth Supporters of the development say they don’t know how much time they have left. The developer, Burnham Group LLC, has an option to buy the 592-acre Frazier Farms property, but it expires April 1 unless the developer sees some indication the legislation is moving forward. The Legislature is in session until May 17 and it takes a minimum of five legislative days to get a bill through both houses, Decatur officials note. And any legislation on the ballot for the June 1 primary or the June 29 runoff has to be advertised in local general circulation newspapers one month in advance.
“We’re taking it a step at a time,” Decatur City Attorney Herman Marks Jr. Said. Fowler and developer Mike Belew spoke to the commission, as well as Athens Mayor Dan Williams and Calvary Assembly of God pastor George Sawyer. His church plans to buy 182 acres west of the development site. Williams said the project looks good, but he worries about how it would affect the city’s revenue and funding for education.
If commissioners vote for the legislation, Limestone County should get more out of it than the county’s 2 cents sales tax rate, he said. “All we’re asking you to consider is to put us in the position to let the people decide if this is the right thing to do,” Fowler said. The developer estimates the retail/entertainment complex in Decatur-annexed Limestone County could create 5,000 jobs and a nearly $500 million economic boost to the area.
Only Decatur’s sales tax would be used to pay off the bonds used to finance the project, including a hotel/conference center, arena and ballpark that would eventually be owned by the city. The commission unanimously approved a resolution recently endorsing the tax change, but Seibert later asked the local legislative delegation not to introduce it unless Decatur got unanimous approval.