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Cookeville IDB Defers Decision On Amendment Ficosa PILOT Agreement

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Cookeville IDB Defers Decision On Amendment Ficosa PILOT Agreement

The Cookeville Industrial Development Board deferred a decision on amending its Ficosa payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement, citing a desire to explore agreements between the city and other companies who might be in the same situation.

After having difficulty meeting original requirements due to COVID, Ficosa Attorney Stephen Jasper presented amendments decreasing the number of required employees and increasing the investment in the equipment. Board Member Allen Ray said he is concerned with an amendment because it might not be fair to other companies with similar problems.

“Although we have waived the penalty sometimes, particularly during COVID and years back, and I think we probably waived payments for Ficosa early on,” Ray said. “But as far as amending a PILOT agreement, I have a hard time with that.”

Board Attorney Kent Moore said they used an in-lieu-of-tax payment calculator to determine what the original agreement would have been knowing what they know now. He said as far as legal implications go, an amendment would have to be equal or better for the county in order to be suitable. Moore said with the proposed new investment in equipment, it likely will benefit the county.

Chair Bob Bell said the board can have a work session between Wednesday’s quarterly meeting and the next scheduled meeting in August. He said they can use that time to go over agreements with other companies.

“We can think of companies under our agreements where their entire consumer base was shut down by federal edict, where schools went home and all of the sudden there’s no demand for your product,” Moore said. “So yeah there are several that could be considered under this. I think we’ve got to take the policy level decision on that and talk to the county and city folk about the implications for the pocketbook, but also for employment and how we approach things.”

Bell said it is also important to consider the precedent set if they make those changes. The next meeting is set for Wednesday, August 23rd with a work session to be scheduled in the future.


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