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Lula Development Authority approved by state legislature

The Lula Development Authority has received approval from the state legislature, allowing the city to create a development authority that reaches into its utility service area outside downtown.

The House of Representatives had approved the authority on March 25, with all of Hall’s representatives supporting, and the Senate passed it late Tuesday, the last day of the legislative session. State Sen. Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, voted in favor, while State Sen. John Wilkinson, R-Toccoa, who represents part of Hall, did not vote.

Development authorities can buy, lease or sell property, issue bonds, and apply for grants and loans. Lula already has the Lula Downtown Development Authority, which Mayor Jim Grier chaired for seven years before getting elected as mayor.

Grier said Wednesday that the city’s next step will be finding the right people for the authority, which could include business owners or residents.

“It’s just another tool in our toolbox to be able to manage the growth that we believe is really headed our way,” Grier said.

Because the new development authority will cover Lula’s water and sewer service area, reaching into unincorporated Hall County, the county will appoint two of the seven members. Lula’s mayor will automatically be a member.

Members will serve four-year terms, except for two initial members appointed by Lula, who will serve for two years.