“Whereas, during his tenure through his efforts and leadership, the Community benefitted from over two billion dollars in new investment and over four thousand new jobs,” the proclamations read in part.
The proclamations recognized Tilley’s 34 years and eight months on the Development Authority of Cartersville and 19 years and five months on the Cartersville Development Authority. Chair Tommy Strickland thanked Tilley for his work and highlighted his achievements.
“But I can tell you, this guy has been involved in one way or the other of the whole economic development landscape in northwest Georgia. He has always been there whenever we called on him, whether it cost him money or he had to do it gratis,” Strickland said. “He’s always been there. He is most deserving of both these proclamations. He’s a friend and I appreciate everything he’s done.”
Tilley thanked the authorities for their kind words and cited a desire to see new community members become involved in economic development.
“Thank you everybody. It was for the betterment of the community. ... I’m really [appreciative] and I’m going to miss it, but at the same time it’s time to go,” he said.
The projects Tilley was involved with during his tenure include Anheuser-Busch, Aquafil, Thrall Car Manufacturing, Komatsu and Toyo Tire. The Toyo facility, Bartow County Commissioner Steve Taylor said, would not have come through without Tilley.
“Gene and his partners came to the table and really made it happen. I have firsthand knowledge ... those guys led by Gene made the Toyo Tire deal and he’s done a lot of other deals for this community ... he don’t want credit for it, but we know some of the things that’s going on in this community is because of Gene,” Taylor said. “He’s always willing to give back. ... I really appreciate what he’s done for our community and he’d be hard to replace — impossible to replace. Thank you, Gene.”
Cartersville Mayor Matt Santini commented on the sheer number of economic development projects Tilley was involved in.
“There are people that do things to get attention, there are people who do things just to do them and there are people that do things that are good for our community that don’t want anybody to know what they’re doing, and Gene is certainly one of those,” Santini said. “I know I feel like I know a lot of what he did, but I probably only know a little bit of what he’s done. ... Even though he’s coming off the board I know when we still need him for anything, he’s still going to be there ... so, Gene, thank you for your continued leadership and guidance, and congratulations on a job well done.”
After the presentation, authority attorney Keith Lovell updated both organizations on the Burnt Hickory Road extension, saying plans may be complete sometime in April. Lovell also raised the issue of where the authorities should continue to do their banking. After a short discussion, the authority boards decided to split the two funds between two different banks. The Cartersville Development Authority will move its account to Century Bank, while the Development Authority of Cartersville will bank at NorthSide Bank. In terms of funds, the Cartersville Development Authority has approximately $74,000 and the Development Authority of Cartersville has approximately $24,000.
A memorandum of understanding with Aquafil in relation to its anticipated expansion was approved, as was a bond resolution for the project. Once the bonds are closed, the Development Authority of Cartersville is expected to receive an approximate $31,000 in transactional fees.
In other business, Sonny Miller was appointed vice-chairman of the Development Authority of Cartersville to replace Tilley. Miller is also recommended to replace Tilley on the Cartersville Development Authority. Beth Tilley is recommended to replace Tilley on the Development Authority of Cartersville. The Cartersville City Council must approve the recommendations.
After the meeting, Lovell explained the city first founded the Cartersville Development Authority under the pre-1983 Georgia Constitution. The authority has a five-mile jurisdiction from the center of town, Lovell said, which includes portions of the county. When the 1983 Georgia Constitution was approved it gave cities the option to keep existing development authorities in addition to one under the new constitution. The Development Authority of Cartersville was created, and its jurisdiction is constrained by the Cartersville city limits.