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Silicor may receive extension from Lowndes supes

 

Jeff Clark

 

With a Dec. 31 deadline looming for the beginning of phase one construction, Silicor Materials officials are expected to ask the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors for second extension. 

 

Columbus-Lowndes Development Link CEO Joe Higgins will appear before the supervisors Monday to make his recommendations on what should happen next in the partnership between the county and Silicor. 

 

Higgins appeared before the board of supervisors on Nov. 15 to inform them that further negotiations with the manufacturer may be needed. District 1 supervisor and board president Harry Sanders said he is optimistic about Monday's meeting. 

 

"Joe's going to come before the board and update us on the negotiations," Sanders said. "I think things are going forward in a positive way." 

 

Sanders, who serves on a committee that receives monthly Silicor updates, declined to comment further, stating a confidentiality issue, but he said he feels good about it. 

 

The Dec. 31 date will be the latest in series of missed deadlines since the California-based company announced in August 2011 its plans to build a silicon metal purification and production facility east of Industrial Park Road, directly behind Mitchell Distributing. 

 

Work was slated to begin Sept. 2, but the board of supervisors granted the company an extension through Dec. 31, stipulating they meet specific, monthly benchmarks or risk having the county cancel the project. At stake for the company is approximately $19 million in financial incentives from Lowndes County. 

 

State lawmakers awarded a $75.25 million incentive package to the company last September, including a $59.5 million equipment and construction loan, $11.25 million for infrastructure and $4.5 million for local workforce training.  

 

Sen. Terry Brown, R-Columbus, said he, too, has faith the company will receive its European funding andbreak ground soon. 

 

"Oh, I definitely think the project is going to happen -- I really do," Brown said. "You know, part of their money is coming from Europe, and you know about what's going on over there. The money's committed, but they can't put their hands on it. I have no doubt it will happen." 

 

The board of supervisors meets Monday at 9 a.m. in the Lowndes County Courthouse.

 

 

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