Campbell County will continue negotiations with Montclair. On Dec. 17, the county commission passed a motion limiting negotiations to the parameters set by county mayor William Baird.
Michael Williams, of Montclair, sent a non-binding letter of intent to William Baird and Jellico Mayor Les Stiers on Nov. 29 that 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.
The town of Jellico accepted the terms at a special called meeting on Dec. 4.
However, there were some points in the letter William Baird and county attorney Joe Coker wanted to discuss further.
“Joe and I talked about this at some length,” William Baird said at the Dec. 17 meeting.
Montclair wanted 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.
“They wanted us to pay for any improvements they made, plus taxes or anything to do with that property,” William Baird said.
Montclair’s requests weren’t the terms William Baird had in mind. He sent a request for changes to Montclair on Dec. 4.
“That’s what the county would require,” William Baird said. “They sort of agreed with that, but not really.”
According to William 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,” William Baird said.
Campbell County wants to allow Montclair use of the rail, but not exclusive use of it.
“I mean, it’s going to cost like $520,000 to build this rail spur,” William Baird said. “My thought was sometime in the future, we might extend that rail spur to other properties in that area.”
“You couldn’t do that if you gave them exclusive rights,” commissioner Rusty Orick pointed out.
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.
“I don’t think you can use ARC money and turn it over to a private company,” Coker said.
The county received word from the ARC that it can’t transfer ownership of the rail spur, William Baird said.
William Baird asked the commission if it wanted to approve his revisionary clause or Montclair’s requests.
“We can’t agree to what they (Montclair) want done,” District 5 Commissioner J. L. Davis said. “It’s just not reasonable.”
The commission should seek the best solution for the county, Davis said.
“Either they’ll come to it, or they’ll go somewhere else,” he said. “We’re not giving nothing away.”
“What you (Baird) said is what we want,” said Alvin Evans, another commissioner from District 5. “If they (Montclair) don’t agree to it, we won’t vote for it.”
Coker recommended passing a motion to move forward with negotiations within the scope of Baird’s requests.
“No action could be taken without you voting,” Coker said. “At this point what they’re asking for is simply a letter of intent.”
Davis made a motion to proceed with negotiations under the scope of the mayor’s revisionary clause. Terry Singley, the third commissioner from District 5, seconded his motion. The motion passed with 14 yes votes. Commissioner David Adkins was absent.
The commission appointed Sara Heatherly, James Hatmaker and Danny Sheckles to the E911 Board.
Last month, the commission had amended Baird’s recommendation, appointing James Hatmaker, Sheckles and Jacksboro Police Chief Danny Chapman instead of Heatherly. The appointments were void because the commission can only approve or reject Baird’s recommendation, but not amend it, Baird said.
Baird recommended Heatherly, James Hatmaker and Sheckles be appointed to the E911 Board. The commission had to vote on each appointment separately.
Commissioner Sue Nance made a motion to appoint James Hatmaker. Commissioner Charles Baird seconded her motion. The commission approved the motion with 14 yes votes.
Nance made a motion to appoint Heatherly to the board. Commissioner Beverly Hall seconded her motion. The motion passed with 10 yes votes. Commissioners Wendell Bailer, Tom Hatmaker, Orick, and Bob Walden voted no. Adkins was absent.
Nance made a motion to appoint Sheckles to the board. Commissioner Johnny Bruce seconded it. The motion passed with 14 yes votes.
Retired employee insurance policy
The commission voted to amend a policy for retired employees’ insurance. The former policy, which required county employees to work for 25 years in order to participate in the retired employee insurance program, didn’t conform with state policy. State policy requires employees to work for 30 years. The commission voted to change the policy to conform to state policy. The motion passed with 14 yes votes. The county allows eligible retired employees to participate in the insurance program for up to five years, or until they are eligible for Medicare, William Baird said.