​County Commission Approves Development Grants

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the Dec. 4 meeting the Franklin County Commission approved two resolutions from the Industrial Development Board to apply for grants funding site development projects in the Industrial Park, costing in excess of $800,000, with a 30 percent matching funds requirement from the county.
If the funds are received, the Tennessee Site Development Grants (SDG) will be used to create a construction-ready gravel pad on Site No. 9 on the Moon property, cost $500,000, and to build an access road on Site No. 16 on the same tract, cost $308,000.
Providing some background on the proposed projects, Industrial Development Board Director Gene Seaton explained last year’s SDG provide for a resistivity study on the property. “We knew there were karst features. We measured down 200 feet. All the property is suitable for industry.”
Seaton acknowledged there were sinkholes on the property, but said, “We can fix the sinkholes. It may not be expensive. We may be able to put rock from our quarry in them.”
Commissioner Dave Van Buskirk asked if the Industrial Board had any prospects interested in locating on the sites.
“We had some last year,” Seaton said. “A pad for a 100,000 square foot building is what clients are looking for.”
“Is our intention to build a building?” Van Buskirk asked.
“We’ve got to have something there for people to see,” Seaton said. “If nobody builds in one or two years, we may consider building a spec building.” Seaton noted Manchester and Lincoln County had followed this strategy to attract industry.
Van Buskirk asked if voting in favor of the resolutions committed the county to proceeding with the projects if the grants didn’t come through.
“No,” Seaton said. “Our goal is to continue development as cheaply as possible.”
Commissioner David Eldridge asked where the county’s match for the grants would come from if the projects moved forward.
“Our existing fund balance,” Seaton said.
The commission approved both resolutions.
The commission also approved a request from Solid Waste to apply for a grant to purchase a wood chipper, total cost $108,000, with a 33 percent local match required.
Following approval of the wood chipper grant, Solid Waste Director William Anderson presented a request to enter into a two-year contract with Heritage Environmental Services (HES).
Solid Waste would process wood waste from the Nissan Plant using the chipper, Anderson explained. HES would transport the wood waste to and from the processing site. “It could bring in $100,000 a year,” Anderson said.
The commission approved the contract with HES.
The commission also approved a request from the Franklin County Board of Education to enter into a lease purchase and maintenance agreement for 11 copiers.
The current copiers were not meeting the needs of the district, explained Director of Schools Stanley Bean.
Eldridge asked Bean about Rock Creek School being closed that day due to a water leak.
“The tile came down in four rooms, but we have good insurance with a $500 deductible. The insurance will take care of all of it. Students will be back in school tomorrow.”
The county commission meets next on Jan. 16.