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LENOIR CITY OKS TAX INCENTIVE TO SWEDISH CORP.

LCUB Manager Shannon Littleton, City Mayor Tony Aikens

$1,028,000.00 FOR 10 YEARS

BY: PAT HUNTER

Lenoir City Council and Mayor Tony Aikens were in attendance for Monday's early morning 9:00 a.m. April 2nd, Special Called meeting. Other attendees included Pat Phillips, Loudon County Economic Development Agency (LCEDA) President, Kathy Knight, LCEDA Asst. Director, Loudon County Mayor Estelle Herron, Steve Harrelson, 6th District Commissioner (Lenoir City employee) and two TV Knoxville stations. 

Lenoir City's meeting appeared in the News Herald Community Calendar, one day prior to the meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to approve a Resolution authorizing a $1,028,000.00 (Lenoir City and Loudon County) 10-year tax incentive for Yale Locks and Hardware, a subsidiary of Swedish lock manufacturer ASSA ABLOY.

Mayor Aikens explained how Yale had notified him Friday morning that they were going to close the Lenoir City plant. He met with Pat Phillips and someone else and they put their heads together and came up with the Resolution.

I realize it this is quick; time is of the essence; we need to do something for the people commented Aikens. I've spoken with the County Mayor (Herron) and she has assured me that she will bring it up at the commission meeting tonight, and hope that the county would follow us, he added.   

Mayor Aikens asked LCEDA President Pat Phillips to speak and then he asked for discussion by Council and City Administrator Hurst.

"This is a quick turn around with the plant closure on Friday morning" so we came up with a possible solution said Phillips.

"It will be an uphill struggle" since this decision has been already made publicly.

Phillips had been in contact with the State of Tennessee, and TVA, and along with the interest of the city and county we can reverse their decision.

The Resolution is a Pilot In Lieu of Tax 10-year tax abatement on real and personal property; the amount was for $1,028,000.00 Loudon and Lenoir City taxes. The County tax is roughly at $59,000 and Lenoir City's tax is around $48,000 per year. Yale has been around for 16 years he explained. There are many families that have worked at that plant over those years. It will have an impact since most are Lenoir City and Loudon County families. Phillips spoke about Yale being a good corporate citizen offering good benefits to its employees. He spoke about the Pilot Program and how the facilities would be leased back to the company. The lease payment could be as low as $1. Phillips asked Council to approve the tax abatement not to exceed 10 years.   

LCUB General Manager (attorney) Littleton was invited to sit with Council;  Lenoir City Attorney Jim Scott was absent. Littleton spoke about how he had tried to get a hold of TVA. Littleton also spoke about his father working at Yale for 42-years. Is it a financial decision for Yale Littleton asked Aikens. 

Aikens deferred to Pat Phillips. The company is very pleased with Lenoir City and its workers; that has not been an issue; it's a consolidation issue replied Phillips.  They have a large facility (5 times bigger) in Berlin Connecticut that can easily accommodate production from the Lenoir City facility.

"It's a numbers game" Phillips said; as production picks up in Berlin Connecticut production in Lenoir City would decline resulting in layoffs and eventual closing; it will take place over the next 12-14 months. 

City Councilman Jim Shields spoke how Yale was instrumental in building up the community and providing food and homes for some 60-years. He felt that the city needed to do whatever possible to help the 230 employees.  City Administrator Hurst added to the comments and the contributions from Yale.

Councilman Bobby Johnson Sr asked for Loudon County Mayor Estelle Herron's input. Herron replied how she had placed the matter on today's Commission's agenda for discussion. "We'll just have to wait and see" said Mayor Herron. Aikens requested that all Lenoir City Council members attend Commission's meeting.     

Lenoir City Councilman Bobby Johnson Sr. motioned to do everything we can and get behind the county and also see if we can save this plant and jobs. Aikens stepped in, "You're making a motion to ah pass the Resolution." "Yeah" replied Johnson Sr.

Do I have a second asked Mayor Aikens? "Second" replied Councilman Buddy Hines.

Roll call: Henline -yes;  Hine- Aye; Johnson - Yes; Shields - Aye; Simpson - Aye, and Wampler - Aye. The Resolution passed with all council members voting in the affirmative. 

Do I have a motion to adjourn asked Aikens, which was quickly motioned and seconded.   Johnson Sr. spoke out loud to County Mayor Herron - do all that you can. 

 

BREAKDOWN

OF TAXES

LENOIR CITY

LOUDON COUNTY

$14,720 (LAND) $90 (LAND)
 

$20, 035 (LAND)

$28,851 (PERSONAL PROPERTY) $39,269 (PERSONAL PROPERTY

$43,571 TOTAL

$59,394 TOTAL

$102,965.00

TOTAL LENOIR CITY & COUNTY

 

 

Commissioner Steve Harrelson - Lenoir City employee (L), Kathy Knight, LCEDA Asst. Director (M), Loudon County Mayor Estelle Herron (L)

 

Steve Harrelson (R) Pat Phillips, LCEDA President (Middle)

Lenoir City Council Henline, Hines, Johnson Sr.,

 

City Administrator Hurst, LCUB Manager-Attorney Littleton, Mayor Aikens & Lenoir City Council Shields, Simpson, Wampler, Recorder J. Wilburn (R)

 

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04-02-2012