Proposed Hawkins IDB budget has increases needed when progress occurs

Jeff Bobo • Mar 29, 2019 at 1:23 PM

ROGERSVILLE — Although there are a few increases in the proposed 2019-20 Hawkins County Industrial Development Board budget, some of them are for services that are only needed when times are good.

For example the request for engineering services is proposed to increase from $7,500 to $10,000.

IDB chairman Larry Elkins noted, there are currently two serious industrial prospects looking at Phipps Bend, as well as one pending expansion of a pending plant.

"If you don't have any progress, then you don't need a whole lot of engineering, but we've got projects going, and ongoing, so we've increased it to $10,000," Elkins said.

The IDB also needs an additional $5,000 for legal notices and court costs.

"That another one, if you don't have anything going on you really don't need it," Elkins added. "But we've had a lot going on, thank goodness. We have to pay the lawyers, the court costs, the filing fees, and all that stuff, so that's a good one. We'd love to have that one at $10,000 to $15,000 if we had the business."

NETWORKS Sulllivan Partnership Director of Economic Development Michael Parker told the IDB the two active Phipps Bend prospects are in the automotive industries, and he is continuing to remain in contact with their industrial location consultants. 

The IDB is also asking for approval to bring the salary of IDB coordinator Rebecca Baker up to where it belongs on the county salary scale.

"Last year we went before the Personnel Committee, and we asked that her salary come up to $40,601, which is in the same pay grade, and they approved part of it and gave her a good raise," Elkins said. "But it wasn't exactly what we asked for. (The IDB's executive committee) felt like it would be appropriate to ask for that to be reconsidered again this year."

Upon being approved by the IDB the proposed budget was forwarded to the county mayors office for consideration during 2019-20 budget hearings which will begin in April.

Phipps Bend water system upgrades

The IDB was approved for an Appalachian Regional Commission grant to help pay for refurbishment of the Phipps Bend Industrial Park water tank, as well as some other improvements to the water system.

Elkins noted, however that they didn't get the entire amount they were asking for.

"We brought in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and they're looking at possibly doing a grant and a loan to supplement that, and hopefully, be enough to cover that entire project," Elkins said. "... If that happens that will really help our situation there, and help out the Surgoinsville Utility District."

Phipps Bend is also a finalist for an undisclosed new industrial development that would be a huge water consumer. Elkins said he's working with the First Utility District and Surgoinsville Utility District to ensure this company's needs will be met if it choose to locate at Phipps Bend.

Lund nominated for vacant IDB seat

The IDB voted to recommend approval of Hawkins County Gas Utility general manager Patrick Lund for the IDB seat vacated last month with the resignation of Tony Birchfield.

Birchfield stepped down due to his business at Phipps Bend planning an expansion which will require IDB assistance.

The Hawkins County Commission will be asked to approve Lund's appointment onto the IDB when it meets April 22.


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