Not Everyone is Excited to Join the Retail Contract

Photo shows a digital rendering for retail development (special photo).
(special photo)

In recent weeks, two additional cities have considered whether to join the proposed retail consultant contract. Not everyone is excited about partnering with Henry County.

The proposed contract asks each city and Henry County to collaborate on the cost of hiring a retail strategist. Such strategist would work with each entity to develop a retail market report. They would also represent the county and cities to various commercial brokers.

Initially, the request to each city was a $10,000 commitment to share in the costs. Because Hampton rejected the offer, this amount is now $10,625 per city. The cost-share would cover the first year of the contract. Subsequent years would cost less.

This article is an update to Can Henry County & Cities Work Towards Attracting Better Retail?

Cities Consider Proposed Retail Consultant Contract

Locust Grove

The Locust Grove council first discussed the topic at their June 20 meeting. They had few questions about it. When asked if the city could complete such work on its own, staff replied partnering saves on the cost. The city would bear the full cost if they did similar work by themselves.

The council considers approval on items at their next meeting. They unanimously approved the agreement on July 3. Locust Grove became the first governing body to sign it, and the only signature so far on the partnership.

Stockbridge

Next, the Stockbridge council considered the item at their July 10 meeting. Discussion began with Mayor Ford expressing his support for the proposal, but council approval is required. Councilman Blount similarly expressed his support. City management concurred with his assessment there’s no downside.

Council members Gantt and Alexander weren’t so quick to approve it. Councilwoman Gantt began by sharing her concerns that the county’s objectives would conflict with the city’s. Councilman Alexander added there’s a trust issue between the county and city. He continued the county does not want density in new developments.

Councilman Blount motioned to approve the agreement, seconded by Councilwoman Barber. It appeared the vote would fail, before Councilman Thomas suggested to table the matter. He stated he was onboard with the idea prior to the meeting, but was now reluctant following other council members’ comments.

In the continued discussion, council members Alexander and Gantt both echoed their support for the concept. They wanted more time to iron out the issues. Alexander also sought more assurances the newly-formed city development authority would be involved. According to Henry County Development Authority Director Josh Fenn, the plan is for each city manager to be the point of contact between their city and the consultant. The city manager can then disseminate information at their choosing.

The vote to approve the contract failed, with two votes in favor and three abstentions. A subsequent motion to table the item passed. The council will reconsider it at their meeting on Tuesday, July 25.

Next Steps

The McDonough council will be the last city to consider the proposal. They have the item on their Monday, July 17, agenda. It’s expected the Henry County Board of Commissioners will likewise consider it on Tuesday, August 1. Stay tuned for further updates!

Featured image shows a digital rendering of retail development. Special photo.

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About Clayton 1441 Articles
Clayton Carte is the founder and owner of MHF News. He founded the site in 2017 to highlight transportation projects. Over time, he began covering other topics like new development so residents can best know what’s happening in our community.