Commission to look at Montclair’s requests

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In a letter, Montclair Technologies expressed intentions of purchasing the Taylor Machine Shop Building in Jellico and some adjacent property. While Jellico has agreed to terms, county leaders are a little more hesitant.

Michael Williams, from Montclair, sent a non-binding letter of intent to Jellico Mayor Les Stiers and County Mayor William Baird on Nov. 29. In this letter, Williams expressed Montclair’s desire to negotiate terms of a contract of sale and purchase for the Taylor Machine Shop and some adjacent county land. Williams proposed purchasing the Taylor Machine Shop for a total of $337,000 over the course of three years and the county’s land for $40,000 over the course of three years.

Jellico accepted the terms at a special called meeting on Dec. 4.

“The city has signed off on the sale of the building and land,” Stiers said.

Baird and county attorney Joe Coker spoke about the letter of intent at the commission workshop on Dec. 10.

“There’s still some things that need to be clarified here,” Coker said. “Hopefully that can be done by next Monday night. But a lot of this isn’t in our control.”

Coker thinks there might be a misunderstanding and feels some points need to be clarified.

“I don’t think their lawyers meant that the way that it read,” Coker said. “We want to first make sure we understand what they’re proposing,” Coker said. “I think everybody’s wanting to work towards the same goal. But we want to make sure we have an understanding and not a misunderstanding about who has what rights.”

This is why Coker and Baird want to clarify the terms before the commission makes a decision Monday.

“These terms have to be acceptable to all,” Coker said.

The four entities involved in the transaction include Jellico, Campbell County, the state, who funds the Appalachian Regional Commission Grant, and Montclair.

Montclair wants exclusive rights to the rail spur and the ability to allow a third party to use it, Coker said. They also want to include a buy back clause. Buy back rights would require Campbell County to repurchase the land it sells to Montclair, in addition to paying for related costs such as construction, if Montclair doesn’t build the refinery.

These aren’t the terms Baird has in mind. He sent a request for changes to Montclair on Dec. 4. According to Baird’s request, if Montclair fails to make payments or fails to put the oil refinery in use within three years of the purchasing date, the property will revert to Campbell County.

“We also want them to put the refinery in operation,” Baird said.

Campbell County wants to allow Montclair use of the rail, but not exclusive use of it.

“Campbell County must retain ownership of the rail spur,” Baird said. “We are using the ARC grant to build the rail spur.”

Campbell County was approved for an 80-20 Appalachian Regional Commission Grant that will provide $520,000 to finance a rail spur. The rail spur will give the oil refinery access to the railroad.

Campbell County and the town of Jellico have been working with Montclair to bring an oil refinery to the Taylor Machine Shop at the Oswego Industrial Park for two years. Jellico leased the Taylor Machine Shop building to Montclair in December 2010. Montclair has proposed constructing a used motor oil refinery at the Taylor Machine Shop. An oil refinery at the Taylor Machine Shop could bring about 50 jobs to Jellico, Stiers said.

Jellico granted multiple extensions to the lease as Montclair worked with different finance groups, including Spirus, Ranch Capital and Triad, to raise money to purchase the building. Montclair’s lease expired in May. At the time, Montclair still showed a desire to purchase the building, Stiers said.

E911 Board

Baird told the commission appointments to the E911 board made at November’s meeting are void.

At its November meeting, E911 chair Bill Widener recommended the commission reappoint Sara Lloyd, Danny Sheckles and James Hatmaker to the board. The E911 board consists of nine members serving staggered terms. The three people Widener recommended be reappointed are in positions that would give them input as E911 board members, Baird said at November’s meeting. However, the commission passed an amended motion that replaced Heatherly with Jacksboro Police Chief Danny Chapman.

“The commission can only accept or reject my appointment,” Baird said.

The commission will have to appoint three members to the E911 board Monday.

“I’m recommending James Hatmaker, Sara Lloyd and Danny Sheckles be appointed,” Baird said.