Fort Deposit faces foreclosure on its industrial park

FORT DEPOSIT, AL (WSFA) - For months now, the city of Fort Deposit hasn't made its payments on land purchased for an industrial park years ago.

They'd hoped to attract Hyundai suppliers to their park, but landed only one.

Now, they're struggling to keep from losing the land altogether.

"We were happy we were going to get two or three tier one plants here in Fort Deposit, but that didn't happen," says City Councilman Elbert Means.

Means says they borrowed $1.7 million dollars, hoping tenants would generate enough revenue to pay it back.

But with only one supplier located there, the city isn't collecting enough money to make the payments.

"There's no economic development, there's no factories here, there's no stores here being we lost our grocery store. And so we are trying to struggle to pay that debt off," says Means.

To help the city with some of its debt, the Fort Deposit Water Board takes its revenues and puts them toward loan and bond payments for the industrial park. But when revenues are low, residents' water bills here increase.  Folks say rates are rapidly climbing.

"My water bill is running from $59 to $70 dollars a month," says resident Sarah Jones.

Jones says her water bill goes up $8 dollars each year.

But city councilmen say that will keep happening as long as the city isn't bringing in additional revenues.

"It's not right," adds Jones.

Means says, thankfully, the bank that made the loan for the property decreased the city's debt obligation from $1.7 million to $500,000 dollars.

Even with the smaller loan, he admits paying it off is a must.

"We incurred the debt, we owe the debt."

Even if it means reducing other city services to prevent foreclosure.

Means believes the city council will have a plan for paying back the debt at the next council meeting.

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