IDB deals with big problems
KEITH READY, Courier Contributor
The sporadic history of past Cannon County Industrial Development Boards has created some major problems that the current Industrial Development Board is working to straighten out.
Over the past eight years the Industrial Development Board, which met quarterly, had only two meetings where a quorum of its members was present. Those past boards conducted meetings, made decisions and continued with business as usual despite a lack of the required number of members now causing issues with industrial owned buildings and tenants' leases.
The problems of the past were evident during the regular monthly meeting of the Cannon County IDB held Tuesday, Sept. 4 at Crane Interiors Inc. as the Board set up guidelines for lease agreements for two current tenants operating in industrial owned buildings.
Those guidelines will allow for tax abatements for tenants T.H.C. Select on Alexander Drive and P.C. Disposal on Bryant Lane. After reviewing a cost-benefit analysis on both businesses by consulting firm Younger and Associates of Jackson Tennessee, it was noted the rent on THC Select could be as high as $8,860 a month. THC Select hasn't paid any rent since they occupied the Alexander Drive Building in January 2011.
Board Member Doug Bodary stated with information provided the rent should be set at $5,500 a month. In addition $2,000 per month should be charged to T.H.C. Select to recuperate $17,522.00 the Industrial Board paid through the county for the
electricity and water for the building while THC Select was moving its operations from Waverly to Woodbury.
The County paid the utilities with IDB funds from August of 2010 through February 2011. It was also proposed the back rent owed to the Industrial Board from THC Select, in an amount close to $51,000, should be waived due to no lease agreement being in effect.
In addition, rent will be due by the 10th of the month and if not paid by the 10th a late fee of 10 percent will be added on. If rent has not been paid for two consecutive months, the tenant will be subject to eviction.
P.C. Disposal's rent according to the analysis could be as high as $3612.00 a month. However it was also recommended by Bodary the rent should be set at $1500 a month. Being noted P.C. Disposal has not paid rent in the last four months their back rent was also decided to be waived due to there being no lease agreement as in the case of THC Select. These recommendations were duly enacted by the Board.
IDB chairman Randal Reid, along with board member Dean Moore, is to talk with officials from both companies to make ensure all parties are in agreement before finalizing the lease.
In other action the Board agreed to further study the costs and benefits of moving their account from under the County and into their own separate fund. This move will allow the IDB to be responsible for their finances and have in house control of their checking account.
After a tour of the Crane Interior facility hosted by Mark Scott, the IDB continued its meeting with new business items on the agenda.
Cannon County Executive Mike Gannon addressed the board to note discrepancies in the July 2012 minutes.
When the Board discussed THC Select during the July meeting it was entered into the minutes THC Select had not paid any rent or utilities to date. Gannon clarified THC Select has actually been taking care of the utilities since February of 2011 even though the IDB has yet to see a rent payment. The correction was duly noted and will be reflected as comments in the minutes of the September meeting. The second discrepancy
pointed out by Gannon stated he was named as allowing THC Select to waive personal property taxes for a five year period. Gannon said he had not given that authorization and did not know anything about the matter until recent discussions with County Property Assessor Donald Preston.
The third discrepancy dealt with the minutes reflecting the THC Select agreement that brought their operations to Woodbury was conducted by Executive Gannon under the term handshake deal.
After an internet video was played showing Gannon discussing a gentlemen's agreement during a previous IDB meeting, it was determined no correction was needed. It was also noted the meeting in question between the IDB and THC Select in 2010 was one of the meetings where, due to a lack of quorum, no official decisions should have occurred. IDB secretary Corey Davenport will review the tape of the meeting, make the needed corrections and present them at the next board meeting in October.