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Last updateTue, 04 Nov 2014 9pm

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New website coming to county promote economic development

Agreement for construction of gas line one step closer
This week the King George Board of Supervisors will get a preview of a new website soon to be launched to promote economic development for the county.

County Director of Economic Development Nicole Thompson is slated to provide an overview at this week’s meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 15 (following our press time).

Thompson also debuted the website before the Economic Development Authority last week on Jan. 10. The planned online tool will link from the existing county website, or will be able to be accessed directly via a browser search.

Thompson had shown supervisors slides of a template for the website last year, and now its pages are being packed with information about the county, including maps, demographic info, local government and other resources.

Thompson said the website is designed to catch the attention primarily of site consultants hired to locate sites for businesses looking to relocate or open a new branch for their firms.

It will highlight the county’s location in the mid-Atlantic and its 60-minute reach to/from both Washington and Richmond.

It is slated to highlight the county’s industrial park with its rail access along with its diverse and accomplished work force, affordable land and natural beauty.

It will also have a list of the types of businesses that the county is targeting to locate in King George.

Those listed currently on the draft site include Advanced Manufacturing (including Food, Pharmaceuticals, Chemicals, Plastic/Polymers), Security Services (including IT, Finance, Insurance, Professional/Business Service), Science and Research (including Biotech, Nanotech, R & D, Emerging Industries, Energy, Medical Labs), Warehouse and Distribution, and Technology Zone/Park (including Defense Contractors, R & D).

SERVICE AGREEMENT COMING FOR NATURAL GAS LINE
Thompson also noted last week that the county is a little closer to getting a natural gas line to the industrial park. She told the Economic Development Authority that a survey and some site work by Columbia Gas of Virginia, Inc., is expected to be completed in a few weeks, with an estimated cost and engineering agreement anticipated in the coming Spring.

Last August the Board of Supervisors had approved execution of an agreement with Columbia Gas that summarized discussion between the county and the company to permit it to proceed with the engineering services associated with the design of the gas line.

That agreement was the first concrete step in bringing natural gas to the county industrial park. That agreement had been in the works for years, having been put off previously by Columbia Gas due to the slump in the economy.

It states that while it does not constitute a binding service agreement to deliver natural gas to the industrial park, the agreement anticipates negotiation for such a service agreement, which would include such services as routing analysis, preliminary easement documentation, and preliminary construction plans for natural gas facilities necessary for Columbia Gas to deliver natural gas to the park.

The agreement contains a reimbursement clause stating that if the parties do not execute a subsequent service agreement by Oct. 29, 2013, Columbia Gas will cease engineering activities. In that event, the county agreed to reimburse Columbia Gas up to a maximum of $200,000 for all documented and reasonable costs including capital carrying costs incurred in connection with the work described above.

It had become apparent that having natural gas available is essential to several potential business prospects inquiring about the industrial park.

Natural gas availability, coupled with access to a rail line, would be expected to exponentially increase the park’s attractiveness to business prospects and poise the county for attracting new business to the park.  

The county had previously earmarked $4,100,000 in the county’s Capital Improvement Program, estimated to cover the costs for engineering and construction of the gas line by Columbia Gas from its availability point near inside the Stafford county line. The funding was not borrowed, but came from surpluses in the county’s general fund.

SERVICE AGREEMENT TO EXTEND LINE ANTICIPATED
A Columbia Gas rep had appeared at a meeting of the Board of Supervisors on Aug. 3, 2010, and provided a slide presentation outlining four types of its standard agreements.

The one that was keyed in on at that time is called a line extension agreement, as being available to the county.

The company rep had explained the features of such an agreement, which basically would include refunding to the locality the amount of connection fees received by Columbia Gas by those tapping into the gas line extension over a 10-year period following completion of the line.

That type of agreement would provide for the possibility of the county to subsequently recoup a portion of the costs King George would advance for the actual construction of a natural gas line.

Phyllis Cook

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