Options for auto dealer include move from town
Mi l ler - Starne s Chev rolet Buick, a family-owned Rockdale dealership for almost a half-century, is eyeing options that include a possible move to a different city.
The Rockdale Municipal Development District (MDD) on Tuesday discussed, but tabled, a possible $10,000 grant plus tax abatements to help the dealership renovate its 60-year-old facilities and remain in town.
Al lan Mi l ler, dealership co-owner, told The Reporter he had discussed the business situation earlier this summer with Tom Manskey, MDD executive director, and Manskey brought up the matter Tuesday.
“I didn’t mention any dollar figures,” Miller said. “I only want what we’re entitled to. As I understand it the purpose of the MDD is to recruit new businesses and retain current ones.”
Miller, a former 14-year city council member, said he waited until he had left the council in June to bring up the matter.
He said the current building was constructed in 1952 by former GM dealer Louis Gest. It was purchased by Miller’s late father, Ernie, in 1963.
“I think it may have been re-painted three times over the years and that’s all,” he said.
“Our options are to renovate it, re-build, or relocate in another town,” he said. “There are other towns with incentives.”
Mi l ler said in 2009, GM closed seven dealerships within a 50-mile radius of Rockdale.
MDD members expressed support for the dealership remaining and concerns over starting a precedent of grants/abatements.
“I am going to need an answer from the MDD so we can determine what happens,” Miller said.