A New Mosaic Agreement
Last week’s edition of the Herald Advocate provided a thorough a history of the Care Sync story until the present failure. We as citizens and observers of this saga over the past few years have truly puzzled at how large amounts of money have been repeatedly sunk into this project despite unfulfilled promises, like dumping money into a black hole.
What was not mentioned is where this county IDA (Industrial Development Authority) money originated. This comes from a Mosaic Agreement with the county, done through the liaison of the Economic Development Director and head of the same IDA. Mosaic implicitly admits that the county would be left worse off economically after mining and reclamation. Therefore, money is offered to attempt to compensate by artificially stimulating the economy through speculation grants to business applicants. Unfortunately, we as citizens of Hardee County have not seen any benefits from this agreement. Perhaps most readers here will ditto this statement.
Now Mosaic wants a rezoning and permit of the 28,000 acre Ona Mine. A new Mosaic Agreement was drafted and presented to the county on June 21. It was presented by Mosaic and our Economic Development Director as a good deal. I would like to point to a few things regarding this agreement.
- There is a lock in on all the regulations that currently apply to this mine in Hardee County for the 30 year life of the mine. The hands of 8 future county commissions would be tied to the grandfathering in of this agreement to make any changes.
- A risk sharing plan where half of the so called mitigation money would depend on Mosaic’s market decisions.
- A low ball base offer compared to past agreements, at best. 35 million dollars spread over 25 years as compared to 42 million over ten years for a mine at south Fort Meade Extension which is less than half the size. The rest would have to be made up through profit risk sharing with no guarantees.
- Recommended was putting the money into the hands of the same IDA you see described in the HA last week. Essentially rubber stampers.
I give credit to the commissioners for sending this bad agreement back to the drawing board. There was no vote. Question now, will citizens have a chance to see the rewritten agreement before the July 9 and 10 hearings. And how much money is enough for the permanent impairment of our agricultural and natural heritage on 28,000 acres? This would be a decision for all future generations.
Personally, considering the evaporative nature of money, there could not be enough. Furthermore, this three headed decision, essentially the Agreement, the Rezone and the Permit itself are far too much to consider in two short hearings in two days. I suggest the County Commission table all decisions until a full public discussion and understanding of this whole issue can happen.