Carroll County’s Industrial Development Authority (IDA) at its July 12 meeting tabled its routine approval of previous meeting minutes to allow more details to be added to the record.
Benny Robinson told fellow IDA members he felt meeting notes needn’t be verbatim, but have enough details on discussions and actions “so we can know six months from now what happened so we can have answers to questions posed.”
Any action approving the minutes was tabled until a copy of a more detailed text could be reviewed at the Authority’s August 2 meeting at 4 p.m. in the Carroll County Government Complex. Debby Brady Stone was the first to speak during citizen comments.
“I have two or three little concerns,” said Stone.
She explained spoiled produce deposited on county-owned land in the Carroll County Industrial Park by Virginia Produce was on land taxpayers expected to be actively marketed by the IDA. Stone said in essence, the produce didn’t bother her but the location did. She candidly admitted she had searched meeting minutes and hadn’t been able to locate documentation of when and by whom Virginia Produce owner Moir Beamer had received permission.
“If the board didn’t give this (permission) what are we going to do about closing that dump,” asked Stone? “I do feel Mr. Beamer has a responsibility to correct the issue. He has property over there. If he wants to dump it on his property that’s fine.”
She reasoned if she had placed produce on another’s property, authorities would look to her to correct it. Stone said the solution could be as simple as “two dump truck loads of dirt smoothed out and then grass seeded.”
Stone’s second issue concerned who monitors county property. She said the county needed to take a proactive approach to this and pointed out inattention might allow something like a meth lab to go undetected or the presence of paint cans and other toxic items that would be costly to clean up, an additional burden to taxpayers.
Cannon said monitoring regularly is done by county employees, but the amount of scrutiny varies with the situation, with monthly visits and other properties which have employees in contact, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. She told Stone she knows of no permission on the dumping and said she had been aware permission was given Virginia Produce to park vehicles on the property.
“We are pretty conservative on requests with associated liability and things dumped on the property,” Cannon said. “I’ve been told it won’t happen again.” Cannon reported Friday that Beamer will cover the produce with dirt and cover it with hay.
Markel Cochran had questions on the ongoing bankruptcy proceedings of Andrews Farming, questioning reports on 1,200 local jobs being created.
“I don’t see 1,200 new jobs here,” said Cochran.
IDA Treasurer Sandy West later answered that number included 800 new jobs created by the Small Business Development Council through the Crossroads Institute.
Cochran also asked about the process the county had used to verify equipment (combined capital expenditures) purchased for Andrews Farming and ANDCO Logistics Inc. in 2015 to satisfy the Tobacco Commission performance agreement stipulations. Cannon said the firm had met equipment expenditures at the 25 percent mark of the loan, which meant in excess of $1.4 million in equipment had been declared. Total capital investment required under the agreement is $5,610,000.
“I don’t think it exists and I’d like to see it,” said Cochran. He said he’d like to know if more followup had been done than accepting Andrews’ personal property filing.
The board approved Cannon’s recommendation to submit an application to the United States Department of Agriculture for a new fire truck for the Laurel Fork Volunteer Fire Department. She said that although there was money budgeted for this, a successful application would cover costs in case the county cannot buy the truck outright. The loan could amount to $375,000 at 2.75 percent interest over 15 years. The Board also approved an environmental study of the former Woodlawn School not to exceed $15,000. This type of study is standard procedure when property is evaluated by the county.
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave