Mayor: We’re trying to deal with closure in best way possible
Posted: Wednesday, February 16, 2011 9:05 pm
By: Donna Ryder, Associate Editor
By DONNA RYDER
Union City Mayor Terry Hailey spent part of the Union City Council meeting Tuesday addressing the Goodyear plant closing and some misconceptions.
First, he said, there is no question that the City of Union City has a stake in Goodyear’s closing the local plant. He said the city was surprised and is “awfully, awfully sorry this is happening.”
He said the second the announcement was made, industrial development leaders went to work. “There is a move afoot to deal with this the best we can,” he said.
Hailey said the leaders are working to make sure the riverport at Cates Landing is finished and $7 million from the state is obtained to help fund that project. He said they must also work to finish out the portion of I-69 at Union City.
The mayor added any industry which comes to the state will look at Union City. “The state is bending over backwards to help out,” he said, adding Congressman Stephen Fincher is working on the issue every day.
Hailey said there are some misconceptions that he wanted to get cleared up. He said the Goodyear plant is not in the city limits and the city receives no tax money from Goodyear. He said the city has received $25,000 a year as a donation from Goodyear. “That’s all we get from Goodyear, except utilities,” he said, adding the plant is Union City Electric System’s biggest customer.
The second misconception Hailey addressed was ownership of the plant. He said Goodyear, not the city, owns the property. He said the company purchased it from the city several years ago.
The third thing Hailey addressed was the absence of Union City officials at the Goodyear press conference last week, as had been reported in The Messenger. The mayor said the city was not notified of the press conference and, had it been, there would have been several people representing the city there. “We regret we missed it, but we didn’t know,” he said.
In other business, after the meeting was opened in prayer by city attorney Jim Glasgow Jr., the council:
• Appointed Brad Par-sons to the Industrial De-velopment Board. A Ward 2 position is still available on the City Beautiful Commission.
• Agreed to place “No Parking” signs on Home Street from Church Street to Exchange Street. Coun-cilman Danny Leggett said the issue deals with cars being parked on the street, blocking residential drives. He said he never intended the portion of Home Street from High Street to Church Street to be included and apologized for any miscommunication or misunderstanding in the matter.
• Voted to sell eight acres of property in the Cloys Industrial Park to Carey Counseling Center Inc. for $28,000. Richard French of Carey Counseling, which provides mental health care services, was at the meeting and said he understood from earlier conversations with Don Thornton, who was city manager at the time, that the property would be $8,000. Thornton has informed by city manager Kathy Dillon that there must have been a misunderstanding. Property in the industrial park has sold previously for $3,300-$6,900 per acre, with the average being $5,300. Hailey said there is a schedule the city has been going by to sell the industrial property.
French told the council when the group first opened a facility in Union City, it rented a 1,200-square-foot building. The facility has since been increased to 2,500 square feet with 14 staff members.
“We’re still busting at the seams. There’s a lot more demand,” he said, adding unfortunately he believes because of the impending closure of the Goodyear plant, the need for their services will increase.
Carey Counseling is also working with the city to apply for a $300,000 Community Development Block Grant to help pay for the new building. French said he anticipates another $350,000-$450,000 to be added to that figure and invested in the facility. He said the building means a construction project, more jobs and a nice property in the industrial park.
French said the building, which will be at 1409 North Morgan St. Extended, will be a brick building.
Ms. Dillon said the property is currently being farmed, but she believes the farmer will have enough time to plant and harvest this year. Plus, the city should know about the grant in time for the farmer to plan for the following planting season.
The motion was approved, contingent on the city and Carey Counseling working out an agreement regarding the duties and responsibilities of the grant. It also gave the city manager authority to negotiate.
• Learned someone had called councilman Judy Robinson to praise the city on the way it looks and for the fine job being done by the police and fire departments.
• Heard the street sweeper is in service, but there is a learning curve on its operation. Public Works director Steve Ladd said they need time and pretty weather, but hopefully things will look much better in six months.
Ladd said the city is still picking up limbs, which must be placed curbside and not in the street. The pile should include limbs only and should not include debris which would damage the chipper. It was noted a crawler on WOBT-TV concerning limb pick up is incorrect.
• Recognized members of Boy Scouts Troop 55 who were in attendance.
• Were reminded of the called meeting on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. to discuss the walking track and Airport Road bids.
• Instructed Ms. Dillon to open the tennis courts on their regular schedule since the weather has improved.
Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 2.16.11