Shenandoah County Industrial Development Authority
Meeting Minutes: May 21, 2018
Chairman Poling of the Shenandoah County Industrial Authority called the meeting to order at 2:00 p.m. Mr. Vass provided a roll call with the following members present: Mr. Blake Phillips, Vice Chairman Jay Winkfield, Mr. James Zirkle and Mr. Eddie Litten. Mr. Rex Morrison and Mr. Ted Rhea were absent. Also in attendance were Ms. Jenna French, Director of Tourism and Economic Development, Mr. Evan Vass, Assistant County Administrator and IDA secretary, Mr. Harrison Nicholson, Director of Finance and IDA treasurer, Ms. Carolyn Howard and Ms. Deborah Flippo of Draper Aden Associates, Mr. Alex Bridges the Northern Virginia Daily, Mr. Rich Walker, Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors District 3 and Mr. Wyatt Pearson, Town Manager Town of Strasburg.
Chairman Poling asked for an approval of the May 9, 2018 IDA meeting agenda. A motion to approve the agenda as presented was made by Mr. Winkfield and seconded by Mr. Zerkel. The motion was approved by a unanimous voice vote.
Chairman Poling asked Mr. Nicholson to provide the treasurer’s report noting an expenditure to Draper Aden and interest earned since the last reporting period. A motion as made by Mr. Litten and seconded by Mr. Zerkel to accept the treasurer’s report. The motion was approved by a unanimous voice vote.
Chairman Poling welcomed Ms. Carolyn Howard and Ms. Deborah Flippo of Draper Aden back and asked them to proceed with their report. Ms. Howard noted that the significant change since the draft report was delivered was the capital improvement plan provided on page 27. Ms. Howard noted since the IDA’s contract amendment to include due diligence for the northern Shenandoah IDA properties efforts were underway to complete geophysical survey, phase I ESA, cultural review and threatened and endangered species review. Ms. Flippo remarked that the completion of the due diligence would result in improving the business sites readiness to a tier 3 of 5. Mr. Zerkel asked what was included in the threatened and endangered species review. Ms. Howard stated that this part of the due diligence is a desk top review by state agencies. They attempt to determine if any threatened or endangered species have previously been identified within a certain distance of the properties. Mr. Poling asked in reference to the capital improvement plan’s use of the term construction what was included. Ms. Howard said the construction would consist of a pad ready site to include mass grading, access road and extent ion of utilities. The pad ready site would result in a business ready site with a score of 5/5. Mr. Poling asked about cost discrepancies in the report related to construction. Ms. Howard noted that page 27’s capital budget was the most up to date. Mr. Phillips questioned if due diligence must be completed before any clearing of the property. Ms. Howard stated in the affirmative. Mr. Vass commented that while the plans conceived a fully developed pad ready site the IDA had only committed at this point to complete the due diligence following that the IDA could exercise its discretion how far to develop the properties.. Mr. Phillips asked about how long the due diligence would be valid. Ms. Howard indicated that the length of time varied dependent upon which portions for instance the wetland review would remain valid for five years while the phase I ESA would be between six and twelve months. A question was raised about how long the due diligence process would take to complete. Ms. Howard provided timelines for difference aspects, but commented that the entire process should be completed by September or October of 2018. Ms. Flippo commented that the studies reduce risk for potential buyers. Mr. Litten asked about grant funding availability. Ms. Flippo reviewed the states Go Virginia program in response to possible granting agencies and initiatives. Ms. Howard indicated that the due diligence report, once completed, would provide the IDA a clearer path on which property (ies) to make investment and at what level.
Ms. French provided an update on the Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program. She indicated she had contacted the city of Harrisonburg’s economic development staff who manage the city’s RBEG program. She conveyed that Harrisonburg will make loans as small as $15,000, require electronic repayment schedules, average 3-5 years or repayment, require detailed business plans, have made 14 loans with 9 still active and have not experienced a default. Harrisonburg has, however, modified terms with certain businesses if there are financial difficulties. Ms. French indicated that loan recipients are start ups and include several food vendors. Vice Chairman Winkfield remarked that he was surprised that the city had not experienced any defaults as startups can be risky for lenders. Chairman Poling stated he was amenable to modifying the county’s RBEG program provided that staff can manage the program.
Mr. Vass suggested that staff make suggested changes to the RBEG program and return to the IDA for consideration. Mr. Vass read the following and requested a motion: Request to enter into Closed Session in accordance with Section 2.2-3711 (A) (3), (5) and (29) of state code to discuss the acquisition of real property for a public purpose, or of the disposition of publicly held real property, where discussion in an open meeting would adversely affect the bargaining position or negotiating strategy of the public body and a prospective business or industry or the expansion of an existing business or industry where no previous announcement has been made of the business’ or industry’s interest in locating or expanding its facilities in the community. Discussion of the award of a public contract involving the expenditure of public funds, including interviews of bidders or offerors, and discussion of the terms or scope of such contract, where discussion in an open session would adversely affect the bargaining position or negotiating strategy of the public body. A motion was made by Mr. Zerkel and seconded by Chairman Poling to enter into closed session. The motion was approved by a unanimous voice vote. At 2:42 p.m. the IDA convened a closed session which included the following individuals: Mr. Vass, Ms. French, Ms. Flippo, Ms. Howard, Mr. Walker and Mr. Pearson.
At 3:20 p.m. a motion was made by Chairman Poling and seconded by Mr. Zerkel to return to open session. Mr. Vass read aloud the following: With respect to the just concluded closed session and to the best of each members knowledge, (I) only public business matters lawfully exempted from open meeting requirements under The Virginia Freedom of Information Act and (ii) only such public business matters as were identified in the motion by which the closed meeting was convened were heard, discussed or considered in the meeting by the Industrial Development Authority: Mr. Vass requested a motion which was offered by Mr. Phillips and seconded by Mr. Poling. The motion as approved on a roll call vote.
Ms. French commented that at the Board of Supervisors meeting scheduled for May 22, 2018 at 7:00 pm a representative of the VT extension service would be making a presentation on the dairy industry and invited the IDA members to attend. Chairman Poling commented about the county’s history regarding the Hood manufacturing facility which eventually located in Frederick County.
At 3:24 Mr. Zerkel offered a motion to adjourn which was seconded by Chairman Poling and was approved on a unanimous voice vote.
- Vass, IDA secretary