By MIKE WEST/ Courier Editor
After a year of revamping, members of the Cannon County Industrial Development Board say they have reached the point of making progress.
Those comments came Tuesday night during a review of the recently released Cannon County audit that was critical of the board's past dealings. The period reviewed in the audit ended in June 2012, the same month the board was reconstituted. Since re-forming, the IDB has held regular monthly meetings with a voting quorum present.
"This has been a long, drawn-out period where the board came close to defaulting $450,000," said board vice-chairman Doug Bodary.
Some $900,000 was spent without an IDB vote and loans were obtained with one being paid through 2024, Bodary said.
State law says these loans should have been approved by a public referendum requiring 75 percent of Cannon County's voters to cast a ballot in favor of the loans, he said.
"That was never done, but the loans were issued," Bodary said.
"The board really needs to cut the drama and get a good CPA to take care of IDB's business," he continued. "We need to get a good accountant and focus on what we can do as a board."
"That's the way we need to go," agreed IDB secretary Corey Davenport. "We need to cut that umbilical cord" with the county executive's office.
Board chairman Randall Reid agreed that hiring an accountant would be a good way of handling some issues the IDB has faced.
The motion past and the IDB will be asking the County Commission March 12 for permission to hire a part-time accountant.
It wasn't all bad news reported by the IDB. It was disclosed that the board is close to resolving its lawsuit with TCI Select, who rents one of the board's facilities.
Chairman Reid reported on the recent auction of two pieces of property owned by the IDB. The board received $38,475 for a section of rocky hillside adjacent to the Cannon County Convenience Center.
The IDB is close to finalizing the sale of 475 Bryant Lane, the site of a small industrial building to Cumberland Plastics Corp. which hopes to locate a core processing facility there for Nissan Motor Manufacturing.
CPC president Sekhar Reddy is asking the IDB about the possibility of acquiring an additional 1.4 acres of land adjacent to the Bryant Lane property.
The IDB voted to have a survey done of the property and an adjacent 5 acre plot.
Reid said he was pleased with the visit of Rebecca Smith, regional director of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. Smith and IDB members visited Cumberland Plastics, Global Industrial Components, Crane Interiors and other Cannon County companies.
"All of these companies are considering expansion in the near future," Reid said, adding this could result in 25 more jobs. "We need to do our best to accomplish this," he said.
In other action, the IDB approved a new debt policy and a series of bylaws. The panel also officially changed its name to the Industrial Development Board of Cannon County, Tennessee.