Commission seeks Plaza documents

Published 8:38 am Thursday, May 31, 2012

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

In the absence of Commissioners Chairman Charlie King Jr. and Marzett Thomas, the Lowndes County Commission voted unanimously Tuesday night to seek information used in the appraisal of the Hayneville Plaza.

On a motion by Commissioner Dickson Farrior, the commission voted to send a letter to Ray Rossell of Appraisals Now in Montgomery for copies of contracts to renters used in the appraisal of the Hayneville Plaza.

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The commission approved a $3.5 million bond issue last June to purchase the Hayneville Plaza, which was appraised at $3.2 million for use by the South Central Alabama Broadband Commission.

Farrior said the commission had a list of what the appraiser said were contracted leases with an income of $131,000 “and I’m trying to find out what happened to it.”

David Daniel, secretary for the SCABC, said there had been an “exodus” of renters from the building.

“It is my understanding now there’s about four in that building,” said Daniel.

“The county’s got $3.2 million in that building and our budget is in dire need of funds,” Farrior said. “And here we’ve got a building that is generating money and we don’t know where the money is going, what’s been collected and I want to get a hold on it.”

Farrior asked Daniel to find out by the next meeting if 12 lease contracts were in place for the Hayneville Plaza, what happened to them and an audit on who paid and who has not paid.

Gene Crum, county economic development director, made it clear that he did not collect rent for the Hayneville Plaza, but only for use of the ballroom.

Farrior moved that the Administrator Jackie Thomas with the help of County Attorney Hank Sanders writer a letter to the appraiser to justify how he came up with contracted leases to put a value on the building.

The Signal attempted to contact Rossell without success.