The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

April 18, 2013

Cash for Sweetwater not in county’s cards

Tax abatements still being considered

By Kim West
kwest@athensnews-courier.com

— One Limestone commissioner called the proposed $1.3 billion Sweetwater development “Decatur’s baby,” and said the county is not going to chip in cash for the project.

Commissioner Bill Latimer confirmed on Thursday the county is going to decline a request by Decatur Mayor Don Kyle to contribute as much as $2 million in cash toward a $40 million incentive package that includes infrastructure and tax abatements.

“As it stands now, we probably won’t (contribute cash),” Latimer said. “There’s too many other things we need money for … industrial projects down the road would require funds if they come to pass.

“We are still considering the (ad valorem) tax abatements for the Bass Pro Shops store. I would say this project is probably Decatur’s baby right now.”

The commercial and retail development would be located at the juncture of Alabama 20 and Interstate 65 in a Decatur-annexed portion of Limestone County.

Limestone County Schools, which benefits from the county’s 2-cent sales tax earmarked for the school system, could receive a boost in revenue from the development. A previous Sweetwater proposal in the same location fell through in 2008.