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Commission approves lease agreement

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

In a special called meeting held Monday night, the Lowndes County Commission unanimously approved a lease agreement with the South Central Alabama Broadband Cooperative District to be used to retire the debt for the purchase of the Hayneville Plaza building in Hayneville.

Last June, the commission voted three-two to approve a $3.5 million bond issue to purchase the building as a hub center for the South Central Alabama Broadband Commission (SCABC). The broadband commission was formed to provide broadband infrastructure for an eight-county area including Dallas, Wilcox, Lowndes, Macon, Butler, Conecuh and Escambia counties.

County Commissioners Dickson Farrior and Joseph Barganier voted against the purchase.

Attorney Major Madison Jr. of the law firm Chestnut, Sanders, Sanders, Pettaway, and Campbell P.C. stood in for County Attorney Hank “Henry” Sanders Monday night.

Madison said according to Sanders, “There are no disagreements or exceptions to this agreement.”

The lease was approved 5-0 on a roll call vote following a motion by County Commissioner Robert Harris with a second by County Commissioner Marzett Thomas.

When asked if he was satisfied with the lease agreement, Farrior responded, “According to what the attorney said, this sets up a way for the county to collect the rent — and you know that’s where I’ve been coming from. And hopefully that will be collected and put into a fund to retire the debt completely and just hope this will work.”

When asked if he was satisfied with other issues relating to the purchase of the Hayneville Plaza, Farrior said, “We’ve gotten a deed. Now, all the requirements that we voted on that night haven’t been met. The $500,000 which was part of the agreement has not been put up as we speak, but the attorneys are working on that.”

Sanders said last June that the bond statement approved was subject to two agreements being executed, a real estate lease agreement between Lowndes County and SCABC that will provide for rent to pay the bond and an agreement between SCABC, Karl Bell, owner of the building, and Lowndes County that $500,000 of the bond proceeds will be set aside to pay that.

Farrior said the money was to be put in escrow to make the first two payments until money starts coming in from the broadband.

According to the lease agreement approved Monday night, the county is leasing the Hayneville Plaza building to the broadband cooperative district to provide a facility in which “to conduct its operations, and to provide funds to the county to enable the county to retire the Series 2011 Warrants…”

The lease is to run from 10 a.m. on the business day next preceding each warrant payment date, beginning Aug. 1, 2013, and continuing until Feb. 1, 2037.