County Chairman, poultry farmers ask for gas in Red Hill

Several poultry house owners, along with County Chairman Thomas Bridges, attended Tuesday night’s meeting of the Royston Mayor and Council to ask for gas service in the Red Hill area of the county.

Bridges began the discussion, stating their intention was to bring the matter before council because it was very important to the county and to those poultry farmers.

We’d love to send you a lot of money from the county. As a matter of fact, we’re already sending you a lot of money through our poultry. Thanks to you guys and your expansion you got a slue of poultry farms. Check and see how much money you’re coming in with. It should enhance, hopefully, for you to expand out on all these other poultry producers in the county. These gentlemen here, especially up in the Red Hill community. I think it’s been on your map to get it to Red Hill for some time,” said Bridges.

Royston Mayor David Jordan then responded to Bridges request. Jordan said the city had looked at Red Hill but chose to go another direction due to costs of each project.

If you recall, we originally had a plan. We had an engineering study to do the Red Hill area. We looked at that and we said just to get the debt paid off and recover our money it was going to take 15 years because of the density of houses in that area, it’s not a quick payback. So, we looked at some other georgraphic areas and over in the Bold Springs area we figured the calculation was maybe six years.

Jordan said the cost was also much less due to the density of the houses in that area. According ot the mayor, it would have required about $3.5 million to run gas to Red Hill where the city could run gas to Bold Springs for about $1 million. For that reason the city went with the Bold Springs project.

Jordan said he would like to talk to the city’s gas committee about the project and possibly have another study performed. He also asked if the poultry farmers could provide a list of poultry house owners who would commit to using the gas service if it were available.

A couple of the poultry farmers spoke up but did not identify themselves. One said people were always going to talk to somebody, but nothing had actually been done to get them service to this point. The farmer said the lack of natural gas was very costly to the owners.

We always say we’re going to talk to somebody, and sometimes we get slack because we’re not burning much gas, but we’re trying to work on it maybe for next year because it’s, it’s just, I mean it’s hurting us, you know. We pay taxes just like Bold Springs pays taxes. You know what I’m saying? I ain’t criticizing Bold Springs because they’ve got it, but we’re sitting up there and it’s putting a hurting on us. You never know what gas prices are going to be,” said the farmer.

Councilmen Keith Turman and Larry Bowen then reminded the farmers that the city did not receive county tax money and that they were required to look out for their citizens and the tax money they paid.

Jordan suggested the famers go to their commissioners and ask them to use some SPLOST funds to partially fund the expansion so the city would be able to move on the project sooner.

The mayor and city manager is supposed to meet with the gas committee and Gas Department head to discuss the issue and consider a new study.