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Jul 03 2013

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EDA Approves ‘Escrow’ Resolution

Members of the county’s economic development authority board reluctantly gave up control of $400,000 they have accrued during their management of the county’s community services building.

The money, which has been placed in an escrow account, is the result of the “prudent” care of the Scott County Economic Development Authority.

Earlier this year, the Scott County Board of Supervisors agreed to move administration of the Scott County Community Services Building from the EDA to the central office. The action also required the escrow funds to be changed into an account under the county’s control.

Several members of the EDA board were clearly upset over the reworking of a proposed resolution that had been sent to the County Attorney Sally Kegley for review prior to their June 24 meeting.

Board chairman Joe Fuller explained that the original resolution, which was written by EDA Director John Kilgore Jr. and his secretary, Penny Horton, included some historical background to explain the situation.

“We only wanted to leave a trail of what happened when the building was built,” he said. “It was sent to the county attorney for approval and most of what I wanted was struck down.”

Kegley noted there was no actual documentation to substantiate the accuracy whether through past EDA minutes or other documents and shouldn’t be included.

Ross Jenkins said he understood the reason for the background was to preserve the process for posterior’s sake.

Several members wanted to make sure the resolution included wording that the fund could only be used for “major building maintenance and capital improvements.”

Fuller even said he was told that the escrow funds could be used for funding economic development.

Kegley stated that she received the resolution around noon and only gave her suggestions.

“Those are only my suggestions and obviously I didn’t know what I was interfering with,” she commented.

Jenkins noted that the resolution needed to have an addition that the action was requested by the county administrator.

“I understand that if it’s not written down, then you shouldn’t put it in there,” he said.

Kegley explained there was a difference of opinion among those involved as how the funds could be used – whether for routine maintenance or not. She also remarked it was “up for debate” whether the county administrator made a request or if the topic had been discussed by the parties involved.

Board member Charles Fugate questioned whether supervisors could change how the escrow account was handled once it was transferred to the county. Kegley explained that the county already was managing the property and all that was left to do was move the escrow funds into a new account.

“I don’t want five years from now people to say the EDA bailed on this if the building is let go and [becomes] run down,” Jenkins commented.

Kilgore explained that no matter what happened, the property was owned by the county.

“The county owns the building,” he said. “In the lease documents, it says the county maintains the building. They own the property and the building. We were only used to finance the building.”

After a lengthy discussion, the board agreed to retain its original version of the resolution, which includes the historical background.

“I say kudos to John, Joe and previous boards for keeping a balance in this,” said board member Roger Fraysier. “This has been a rainy day fund and I hate to see that go away – what with budget cuts and everything occurring today and then not having money in the account to pay for improvements but that would be on their watch. I agree with Ross that it needs to include this was at the request of the county administrator.”

Fuller added that the resolution very clearly spells out what happened and that the EDA wasn’t trying to gain anything by passing their version of the resolution.

The resolution was unanimously approved by the five members present, Marshall Tipton, Fraysier, Fugate, Fuller and Jenkins.

Later in the meeting, the board went into closed session to discuss disposition of property, prospects and real estate.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.virginiastar.net/2013/07/eda-approves-escrow-resolution/