Oneonta to negotiate with golf facility bidder


Having received but one tender, the Oneonta City Council cited state law in authorizing Mayor Ross Norris to negotiate with the bidder. Reporting to The Blount Countian, city manager/economic developer Ed Lowe explained Jimmy Hamby of Fairview had proposed a lease-purchase arrangement with a range of options.

Lowe related that Hamby had projected a six to 12 month lease for a nominal figure. Hamby alleged he anticipates spending a minimum of $200,000 to ready the former Heritage Golf Course for a quick reopening. At the end of the lease period, Hamby’s bid cites a purchase price varying between $200,000 and $400,000.

At the time of conversation with Lowe, he said the parties had reached agreement on a monthly lease at $2,500. The lease should allow the city to cover tax and insurance expenses. Norris will propose the offer to the council at its next meeting.

In another city commerce matter, Don Mitchell advised councilors of the planned move of Jones Valley Fabrication into the industrial park facility which has housed Hornsby Steel. Hornsby has decided to consolidate its enterprises in Cleveland, which will leave the Oneonta structure available.

Gray Shipley and Steve McGrady appeared with Mitchell representing the firm. The company will seek tax abatements in relocating to Oneonta. Mitchell, with the Blount County Economic Development Council, projects the business will employ approximately 30 once up and running.

Shipley summarized his company’s production as steel fabrication, cutting and stamping steel, providing custom fabricated metal, and working with particularly heavy industrial fabrication in response to a question from councilor Tonya Rogers. The council set a public hearing on the abatement request for 5:10 p.m. prior to its next regular council session.

Members had previously set a 5:20 p.m. hearing for that evening related to business license classifications. Administrative assistant Brandon Horton explained that since the state has established certification requirements for roofers, the city will need to separate that business from gutter installation within its licensing categories.

In personnel matters, councilors approved changes to the city’s police department policy manual, reappointed Daniel Clem to the park and recreation board, and voted to hire Lauren Haygood,

Bethany Hogeland, and Rachel Moore as part-time seasonal concession workers. They accepted resignations from Kenneth Booth and Tammie Noland. Booth resigned his part-time service with the police department as he accepts the reins as fire chief, and Noland makes final her retirement which she began nearly a year earlier while then assuming part-time work with the city.

Councilors voted to surplus several items from the police and public works departments for eventual resale. They also voted more than $4,000 in purchases for the park and recreation department.

Blount County Children’s Center director Jim Ed Clayton reported on his agency’s services. The center receives an annual appropriation from the city.

Councilman Richard Phillips missed the Feb. 12 meeting attended by all other members (Norris, Rogers, Hal Blackwood, Nathaniel Butler, and Danny Robinson). The meeting included an approximate 10-minute executive session identified for “pending litigation.”

The council holds its regular sessions the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 5:30 p.m. in city hall.