DRAFT MEETING AGENDA & MINUTES

 

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TENTATIVE AGENDA

Loudon County Economic Development Agency

Joint Economic and Community Development Board/

Executive Committee Meeting

Loudon County Building Conference Room

 

July 23, 2009

 

 

 

·       Approval of minutes from the May 28, 2009 meeting

 

·       Health care changes and Budget

 

 

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Joint Economic and Community Development Board

Board Meeting

Loudon County Building Conference Room

3:00 p.m.

 

July 23, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

a.       Health care changes and Budget

 

·       Williamson House Improvements

 

 

 

 

 

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UNAPPROVED

Loudon County Economic Development Agency/

Joint Economic and Community Development Board

Executive Committee Meeting

Loudon County Building Conference Room

May 28, 2009

 

 

The following members were present: Chairman Doyle Arp, Charlie Bettis, Lynn Mills, and Dale Hurst.

 

Also present were:  LCEDA staff members Pat Phillips, Kathy Knight and Stephanie Myers.  

 

Chairman Doyle Arp called the meeting to order at 2:30 p.m. 

 

Approval of Minutes from the March 26, 2009 meeting

Minutes for the meeting were mailed/emailed to committee members prior to the meeting.  Charlie Bettis moved and Lynn Mills seconded a motion to approve the minutes from the March 26, 2009 meeting. Motion carried.

 

FY 2009-2010 Budget Revision

Pat Phillips explained that because the Planning Office will be vacating the Williamson House and moving to the Annex, the budget has been revised to absorb the additional expenses that previously were shared with the Planning Department.  The additional increases will affect the Utilities Expense, Office Equipment Expense, and Office Supplies Expense categories, resulting in a net budget increase of $5,500 per year.  For this fiscal year, the increase will be taken out of reserves.  For FY 2010-2011, the entities will be asked to increase their contributions accordingly.  Phillips continued, explaining the improvements he would like to do to the Williamson House.  Those improvements would include providing a handicap access ramp to the building, remodeling the kitchen, purchasing furniture to provide a sitting area where currently Debbie Hines and Stephanie have their desks, energy improvements to include a new HVAC system and better insulation.  Lynn Mills made a motion to approve the budget revision, seconded by Charlie Bettis.  Motion carried.

 

The office will be applying for a Rural Development Grant to help cover the cost of these improvements, which would be a 65% grant rate with a 35% local match.  We have received three quotes back on the handicap ramp already, ranging from $15,000-$19,000.   This money could be used as the local match, with the additional improvements to the house being covered by the 65% grant.

 

Lynn Mills asked whether any grant monies would be available through TVA.  Kathy Knight responded that she would look into that, and possibly set up an energy audit of the house to see where the deficiencies were. 

 

Additional Business

There being no further business, Chairman Doyle Arp adjourned the meeting at 2:40 p.m.

 

_______________________

Stephanie Myers, Recording Secretary

 

______________________________________________________________________________

 

UNAPPROVED

Loudon County Economic Development Agency/

Joint Economic and Community Development

Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Loudon County Building Conference Room

May 28, 2009

 

 

The following members were present: Chairman Doyle Arp, Dale Hurst, Charlie Bettis, Lynn Mills, Jeffrey Feike, Bruce Giles and Michael Bobo.

 

Also present were:  LCEDA staff members Patrick Phillips, Kathy Knight, Stephanie Myers, and News Herald reporter Mary Hines.

 

Chairman Arp called the meeting to order at 3:00 p.m.

 

Approval of Minutes from the March 26, 2009 and April 24, 2009 meetings

Minutes for the meeting were mailed/emailed to committee members prior to the meeting.  Jeffrey Feike moved and Charlie Bettis seconded a motion to approve the minutes from the March 26, 2009 and April 24, 2009 meetings.  Motion carried unanimously.

 

Financial Report Update

Treasurer Charlie Bettis reviewed the Balance Sheet and Profit/Loss Statement as of April 30, 2009 with the board.  Bruce Giles made a motion to recommend approval of the financial reports as given, seconded by Jeffrey Feike.  Motion carried unanimously.

 

Executive Board Recommendations:

a.      FY 2009-2010 Budget Revision

Pat Phillips explained that since it appears the Planning Office will be relocating to the Annex, the agency’s expenses will be increasing by approximately $5,500 per year. Currently the two departments share certain expenses. The budget categories affected are:  Office Equipment, Office Supplies, and Utilities.  The additional expense for this fiscal year will be taken from the reserve account.  For FY 2010-2011, the entities will be asked to increase their contributions accordingly.  The Executive Committee recommended approval of this increase. 

Bruce Giles made a motion to accept the recommendation of the Executive Board

       approve the budget as proposed, seconded by Jeffrey Feike.  Motion carried

       unanimously.

 

Williamson House Improvements

Phillips explained that in order to comply with ADA requirements, the agency received three quotes to install a handicap accessible ramp for the house. These bids range from $15,000-$19,000.  Phillips and Knight have met with the Rural Development Administration, who has some grant programs available through stimulus money they have received.  The County’s grant rate would be a 65% grant with a 35% local contribution.  The money spent for the handicap ramp could be used as the local portion, leaving the balance to do the additional improvements such as remodeling the kitchen, purchasing furniture to provide a sitting area for guests where currently Debbie Hines and Stephanie have their desks located, energy improvements to include putting in a new HVAC system and better insulation.  These improvements would cost approximately $60,000.

 

The committee that was formed to research a new location for the office came to the conclusion that with the current economy, it would be best for the agency to remain in the Williamson House.  Phillips continued that if that is the case, these improvements need to be done in order to make a better impression on prospects.

 

Jeffrey Feike stated that with the economy the way it is, Loudon County needs for the agency to be positioned better for both accessibility and to “put its best foot forward.”   We need to concentrate on making a good first impression to those looking to locate their industry here, and do a better job for our community in competing for those industries.  He felt the cities and County can come together on this issue.  Putting $50,000-$60,000 into a facility that may not be long-term may not be the best idea. 

 

Phillips commented that in the past, prospects would spend up to half the day looking at sites.  Now, a site consultant comes in for 30 minutes to an hour, which makes the first impression very strong and will affect how they view the community.  When we are focusing on the upper end, high capital investment, higher tech companies, the location for the agency is probably not the image they want to be associated with.  He continued that there is a building in downtown Loudon that a contractor is preparing a bid for.  A local developer has stated that if the agency does remodel that building, he would renovate others in the area.  We could institute a capital campaign, which would be very attractive when going for grants because it would show community support.

 

Feike stated there was potential opportunity for the Chamber to join forces with the agency and relocate in the same facility.  He feels this would portray a very positive image for the community.  Not stepping out and doing this may be detrimental to the tax base of Loudon County. 

 

Phillips suggested a committee be formed by members of both the Chamber and the Board to look further into a finding new location and compiling the financial information for such move.

 

Jeffrey Feike made a motion to re-look into other options for relocating the agency.  Motion failed for lack of a second.

 

Charlie Bettis questioned whether the board wanted to look at relocating the office prior to making the extensive improvements to the Williamson House.  Phillips responded that some of the improvements need to be made now, such as the handicap ramp.  It will take time to go through the process of relocating the agency, particularly if the agency does a capital campaign and the grant application process.  He didn’t feel it would be practical to delay the improvements when the process could take a couple of years.

 

Phillips asked if the board could look at appointing a couple members to work with the Chamber to develop a plan to present to the two boards and make a consensus.  Lynn Mills added that there would have to be discussion between the three entities regarding funding for this project.  If they aren’t in favor of this possibility, the planning would be in vain.  Bruce Giles suggested getting all three legislative bodies together for a meeting and presenting to them the best and worst case scenarios.

 

Jeffrey Feike made a motion to appoint a couple members to work with the Chamber to develop a plan for co-location to present to the entities, per Pat’s recommendation.  Seconded by Bruce Giles.  Motion carried unanimously.  No members were appointed.

 

Centre 75

Phillips explained that in the lease agreements, the lessee is supposed to maintain the right-of-ways.  To date, this has not been done sufficiently or regularly.  He suggested we get with the City and County and have bids sent out for the regular maintenance of the right-of-way, similar to what has been done for the other industrial parks.   The grass has gotten as high as 4’, and when it is mowed at that height, it leaves a mess. The front and a portion of the interior around the sign are maintained by Brewster’s Turf Management as a community service project for free, which is why it always looks good.  There is not enough money in the maintenance fund to pay for the remainder.  Knight added that there wasn’t anything specifically set up in the maintenance fund for how that money should be used.  Charlie Bettis made a motion to approach the City and County about taking bids for the maintenance of the right-of-way in Centre 75.  Seconded by Jeffrey Feike.  Motion carried unanimously.

 

Innovation Valley

Kathy Knight explained that as part of the Innovation Valley region, one of the major initiatives is Workforce Development.  The agency has partnered with the other counties in the region to do an Educators in the Workplace Lunch and Learn Series through the Summer while the teachers are out for Summer break.  Astec Underground in Loudon will be hosting one of these events.  The teachers will get in-service credits through the Loudon County Schools for the teachers that participate.  Lenoir City does not offer the in-service credits, but the teachers are encouraged to participate.  Clayton Homes will also be hosting an event.  This gives the teachers a chance to observe and learn what skill sets are needed in these work environments.

 

Projects and Prospect Activity Reports

Phillips stated the Christensen project is finished.  The downtown triangle is torn up, the sign should be finished tomorrow, and the fountain should be started shortly.  The greenway has some drainage issues with all the rain we’ve received in the past few months.  A sluiceway has been built to divert the water.  Hopefully, the bridge lighting will be started in the next 60 days. 

 

We will be submitting an RFP on a 400 million dollar project with approximately 500 jobs to a ‘clean’ company.  Centre 75 has been submitted for the project, along with a site in Lenoir City.  The prospect is a large energy user, with 40 megawatt on the front end, and an additional 40 megawatt on the second phase.  The sites being shown are very high profile, high quality sites.  Also, the agency is talking with another company, a 200 million dollar project, needing 400,000 sq. ft.  They like Centre 75 and have shown interest in getting an option on the property, but we’ve not heard back from them. 

 

We are seeing some activity.  A lot of the projects are looking at buildings available.  We have two buildings available which are the David Jones Building, approximately 104,000 sq. ft., and the Blair Bend that has 30,000 sq. ft. available. 

 

The industry interviews are continuing.  All are struggling and looking at ways to improve efficiency and cut overhead.  As a whole, most companies are stable and we don’t see the possibility of any closings. 

 

The unemployment rate was 9.5%, which is the second lowest in the region after Knoxville.   The companies are struggling, but are looking for ways to improve efficiency.  Because Loudon County focused on bringing in high quality, high capital investment firms in the last 10 years or so pays off in regards to the stability we are experiencing.  It helps that we are not concentrated in any one area, because the diversity helps the stabilization of the economy in Loudon County.

 

Chairman Arp mentioned the work program being offered through ETHRA in Loudon and Blount Counties.  Fifty-five jobs are available for applicants up to age 24 who are economically deprived.  He suggested ETHRA get with the local industries. 

 

Dale Hurst thanked Pat Phillips for his assistance with the municipal project for Lenoir City. 

 

Additional Business

 

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:00 p.m.

 

______________________________

Stephanie Myers, Recording Secretary

 

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07-20-09