Macon County Chronicle

Cobb-Vantres to Buy 9.55 Industrial Park Acres

“They’re wanting to move very quickly,” Mayor J.Y. Carter told members of the Lafayette City Council at their regular meeting on Tuesday, August 5 as he introduced Cobb-Vantres’ proposal to buy 9.55 acres of Industrial Park property. “James Young was here last Wednesday, and they’re wanting to get our lawyers together as soon as possible.”

Lafayette’s asking price for the industrial park property, which is $6,000 an acre, will be paid by Cobb-Vantres up front, Carter explained. City Attorney Jon Wells explained the deed restrictions that will go with the property.

If Cobb doesn’t complete construction of their hatchery on the industrial park land within 24 months, the land goes back to the city. If Cobb doesn’t stay at the location for 15 years, the land goes back to the city.

A motion to sell the land to Cobb was passed unanimously.

On Monday, August 11, Carter said that lawyers were presently negotiating deed restrictions and a lot description. According to Ben Green, General Manager at Cobb’s Monticello, KY hatchery, Cobb doesn’t plan to start construction until after October 1st. Bids for the job will be taken locally.

Also according to Green, Cobb has rented office space next door to Davis Electronics on the Highway 52 Bypass. The office, which is presently empty, will open sometime after the end of next week, when a General Manager for this area is named. The first thing that the new General Manager will do, said Green, is to contact those people who showed interest in contracting with the company.
As of yet, Cobb has no contracts in the area, or applications for contracts, said Green.

A decision about Phase I of the Cumberland River Water Project was postponed by the council until a public hearing and a work session can be held, the council decided after discussion.

A resolution presented by Mayor Carter on behalf of Trousdale County requested the contribution of CDBG money that has been awarded to Lafayette for construction of the Trousdale Water Treatment Plant, in order to accommodate Lafayette’s possible, future water needs. The resolution also included a restriction on Lafayette selling water to other parties.

“That would be like me paying to build you a factory and then buying the stuff you make in the factory from you,” said council member Ronnie Krantz. “I think we need to increase our own sources. With the water we’ve got now and the sources we’ve got right now, I’m not going to run a line anywhere.”

Krantz also pointed out that going to the Cumberland River for water would result in a 30% water bill increase for existing customers, for the next 38 years. That increase would cover all three phases of the project.

Council member Ruby Flowers reminded the council that engineers asked, at a recent work session, what the city was doing building another water line when it couldn’t treat the water it’s capable of pumping.

“Since we’ve got the new line, we can go up to 2.6,” said Flowers, agreeing that the city needed to get water from the sources it has. “We could treat more water if the grant was big enough.”

The new line that Flowers referred to runs from the Spring Creek Pump House to the city’s Water Treatment Plant and was completed in July of this year. The 2.6 that Flowers mentioned is gallons of water per day.

“The new line gives us the ability to pump from water from the spring houses and the Barren River at the same time,” said Chris Meador, at the treatment plant, “but we don’t really know how much we can pump yet, because we haven’t run the initial test. We’ll be doing that within two or three weeks, soon as the meter is hooked up, then we’ll know.” The plant, according to Meador, is rated to treat 2.4 million gallons of water per day.

According to Ricky White, of Professional Engineering, the city has to have a public hearing, per State Revolving Loan Fund requirements. Also, said White, an archaeology study at 4 sites along the Highway 10 route will have to be done, at great expense.

“This is not a 15 minute decision,” White advised the council. “To make a really rational decision, it’ll take some studying. I don’t see a really clearly defined solution.”

A motion by Krantz, seconded by Steve Turner, to hold a public hearing and work session was passed, with Jerry Wilmore voting no.
The public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. on August 19, at City Hall. However, the test to see how much water the city can pump with the addition of the new line will not be completed in time for the hearing, according to Meador.

The city will donate $10,000 to the Senior Citizens Center, the council decided unanimously after hearing from board member Dennis Wolford. The city’s charter allows for the support of community structures such as the Center.

“The county is wanting to attract retirees and senior citizens,” Wolford reminded the council. “We have a lot to offer in this community to senior citizens. This is a vital part of that plan. We need to get the Center going and maintain it.”

The Center is also looking for sustained support from business and industry in the county, said Wolford, and also seeks sustained support from the city. The county, too, donated $10,000 to the Center. Eighty-five percent of seniors using the Center live in Lafayette.

Don Roberts, General Manager of TennPlasco, asked the council about the possibility of being relieved of an additional six months lease payments that would not be tacked on to the end of the lease. In October of 2006, the city granted TennPlasco, which is down from 200 employees to 55, six months relief, to be tacked on to the end of the lease agreement, which runs through 2021.
“If you can’t do that, we’ll probably have to vacate the building,” said Roberts.

Attorney Wells wasn’t sure if the city could actually do that, since the building was funded by the Economic Development Agency (EDA), which had to review and approve TennPlasco’s lease terms.

“I don’t know if we can give you six months,” Wells told Roberts, “but I’ll check it out tomorrow and let you know.”

Council members agreed that they don’t want TennPlasco to vacate their Industrial Park building, and would give them six months if possible, or postpone payments for six months if that’s what they can do according to terms of the lease.

“If we do have to tack it on to the end of the lease, it’ll be 12 years before it comes to you,” Atwell said.

Roberts said that he would contact Mr. Nolan, owner of TennPlasco, but doubted he’d go for another postponement.

On Monday morning, August 11, City Clerk Annette Morgan said that Wells had checked into the matter and reported that the city can’t just give six months of the lease to TennPlasco, but can postpone payments. The ball, at this point, is in TennPlasco’s court.
In other business, the council:

•heard a proposal from John Beacham, of Crossroads Wireless based in Oklahoma, to lease from the city a small parcel of land at the base of water towers located at Westside and Winding Stair Bluff, and to install antennae to the hand rails. The city already has antennae on the towers, which serve the 911 and Fire and Police Departments.

“Our plan is to provide wireless internet service to rural areas, through a grant with the Department of Agriculture,” Beacham explained. “The lease would run for 25 to 30 years.”

Councilman Richard Bransford said that Ivan Davis, who services all of the city’s equipment, had some concerns that Crossroads’ antennae would interfere with emergency radios.

“The theory says that it shouldn’t interfere,” said Bransford. “But theories don’t always hold, and I’d hate to see it interfere.”
Beacham said that he would have a Crossroads engineer contact Davis.

The council passed a motion, made by Bransford, to lease Crossroads the land and tower space they wanted, contingent on Davis’s agreement that there would be no interference, and that Crossroads would remove their equipment if there was interference.

•accepted the low, $21 a ton bid of LoJack for paving city streets for the fiscal year 2008/2009.

•approved the recommendation to acquire Macon County Collection services for the city.

•authorized Mayor Carter to accept commercial dumpster proposals from private companies.

•authorized the letting of bids for a street department tractor.

•approved August annual employee evaluations, as recommended by the personnel committee.

•approved the hiring of Leslie Bergdorff, at $12.51 per hour, as a part-time dispatcher for the Police Department

•adopted, on second reading, an ordinance to separate the sewer rate from the water rate.

•adopted, on third and final reading, the 2007/2008 budget amendment.

•adopted, on third and final reading, an ordinance shortening the amount of time between notifications of delinquent water bills.

•appointed Jeff Keisling to the Planning Commission to finish Miles King’s term.

•adopted a resolution appointed three Industrial Board members: Demps Breeding, Jeff Keisling, Tony Polston; and appointing Johnny Woosley to finish Miles King’s term, to expire in September 2012.

•tabled the Salary Pay Scale Committee recommendations, at the request of Jerry Wilmore.

The next regular city council meeting will be held on September 2 at 7 p.m.