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JDA approves payments for recruiters
Newton's Hall, Walton's Short each to receive $25,000 after Facebook decision
Short, Hall
Serra P. Hall, left, and Shane Short, right, celebrate the announcement of Facebook with U.S. Rep. Jody Hice on Wednesday, March 7, 2018, at the state Capitol in Atlanta.

MONROE, Ga. — The two economic recruiters who were most responsible for bringing Facebook to Stanton Springs will soon receive an extra $25,000 after the Joint Development Authority approved the payments at Tuesday’s meeting.

Shane Short, executive director of the Development Authority of Walton County and Serra Hall, the director of commercial development in Newton County, are in line for the payments after the JDA board tentatively set them at a work session in April. On Tuesday, the board approved the payments and cut checks in response to invoices from the county development authorities.

The JDA also passed a resolution defining who and how much it will pay for economic development services in the future.

Short and Hall are the lead economic recruiters for their counties, and they fill a similar, but unofficial, role with the JDA. However, they are paid by the county development boards, not by the JDA.

In the future, Walton and Newton will each receive a 2 percent fee for projects they recruit to Stanton Springs. That money will be paid both for land sales and bond fees.

If, for example, a company buys 200 acres in Stanton Springs at $40,000 per acre and agrees to a $500,000 bond fee, the Development Authority of Walton County would receive $170,000.

That allows the JDA to use Short and Hall’s services with a fixed structure for paying the bills.

Short noted that economic recruiting efforts often are not successful, so the JDA isn’t on the hook if the targeted company doesn’t come to Stanton Springs.

“It is based on performance,” he said. “You are not paying anything if we don’t land a project.”

Each county also will be reimbursed for expenses related to recruiting projects, and Walton presented expenses related to what could be the next Stanton Springs development Tuesday.

The JDA agreed to pay slightly more than $1,000 for renting ATVs and hiring a drone to show the property for a project code named Project Impala.

Short declined to comment on Project Impala following the meeting.

In other business the JDA voted to spend up to $263,550 for engineering and other expenses for a proposed parkway extension. Engineering firm Thomas & Hutton will provide the data needed to complete a grant application that could bring $1 million to the JDA for the regional project.

Cosby Woodruff is the managing editor of The Walton Tribune.