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Clarksville City Council Agenda and Comments – August 1st, 2013

 

Clarksville City Council - Ward 10Clarksville, TN – This could be an interesting council session.

The mayor wants the council to approve borrowing $325,000 for an excursion boat project. As of last Thursday neither we, nor the mayor, had any idea what it may involve and even if the city will do the project.

We may not need $120,000 we borrowed last year to buy land for the new fire station in the Exit 1 area if a land donation comes through. However, the mayor wants the council to approve borrowing $1.44 million to build that new fire station before we see if we could save $120,000 in loan costs.

The mayor wants the city to borrow $1.2 million in low cost energy bond money to replace 765 streetlights; although as of last Thursday, we do not know if TVA will approve the Clarksville Department of Electricity’s involvement in the project to monitor true energy savings. Payback is 15 years, but perhaps longer if we cannot get the full energy savings that is proposed.

The mayor supports moving the director position of the non-profit organization Two Rivers Company (TRC) to the city books for payroll and benefits. It would technically place the position under her direct control and authority instead of the Board appointed for that task.

As of last Thursday, when I asked about supervision and responsibility of assigning tasks with this move, it seems no one has bothered to figure it out or put into writing how this position will operate with such a change. Also, it appears no one has asked the IRS if this affects the non-profit status of the TRC.

While the mayor talks about the importance of the TRC and is a full voting member of the TRC Board, it appears she has not made more than two, possibly three, meetings in the last year. Since I was able to get the council to fund $350,000 in FY 2014 to allow the TRC to engage trying to rebuild and generate new business in the downtown area.

Perhaps the mayor sees an opportunity to use that funding and the leverage of owning the director position to get her performing arts center as the number one project for the downtown. I am sure interested council members will have to ask many questions to find out what is going on.

The mayor wants to extend the time by a year to allow the marina developer to try and build a restaurant by the marina. By contract, the restaurant was supposed to operational by December 2012. By mid-summer 2012 it was apparent that the developer was not going to meet that contract deadline and asked the mayor for a 6-month delay until May 2013 to have it operational.

That date came and went without a peep from the mayor until Councilman Allen asked about it several weeks ago. The mayor stated she was working something and would not elaborate. Now, with the developer being 60-90 days in breach of contract, the mayor wants to allow the developer another extension until May 2014 with construction beginning before December 30th, 2013.

The old contract had no penalties for missing performance dates. The initial extension had no penalties for missing performance dates. This new extension has no penalties in it. The mayor evidently sees no problem that the city will have lost about $30,000 in basic rent of the property by May 2014 due to contract non-performance, along with potentially thousands of dollars in lost sales and liquor tax collections and supplemental rent payments based on total business sales projections.

I will be offering an amendment to require rent payments on the property and penalties if dates are not met. I know of nowhere else where someone can lease property for no cost for such a long duration without paying something.

If you note there seems to be a couple of major themes in these agenda items I have highlighted. Those themes being that sound basic business and financial planning and practices used in the normal course of any function or operation are missing in action here. Yes, it should be an interesting council meeting.


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