County to Vote on Business Bond Next Week

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Pickens County is set to vote next week on an agreement requiring the county to back a bond for a local business. During a special called meeting Tuesday, the Pickens County Board of Commissioner approved a motion to move forward with an intergovernmental agreement with the economic development authority to back a loan for Restaurant Interiors Inc. (RI). If approved at next week’s board of commissioners meeting, the agreement will require the county to pay the rent on RI’s building if the company should default, until a new business could move into the building. If this should happen, the county would likely levy I mil from taxpayers. County Attorney Philip Landrum III said, though, the chances of this occurring is small.

The company recently moved to the old HD Lee Plant on Holly Drive due to expansion.

According to the discussion at Tuesday’s meeting, the county would be the third line of defense. Landrum explained that the economic development authority has $200,000 in case the RI defaults on the loan for the building.

Since the topic was introduced earlier in the month, the board has been concerned with the stability and finances of the company. During the February 7th work session, the board had requested, via Mr. Landrum, Restaurant Interior’s financial reports, including credit reports. At Tuesday’s meeting, Restaurant Interiors Chief Financial Officer Allan May presented some non-sensitive financial information to the board. Presenting before the board, May said the company’s expected revenue for this year is between nine and 12 million dollars. Additionally he noted January’s revenue was $750,000. May also said Restaurant Interiors will bring $2 million in payroll for the community. The company started with 10 to 15 employees and now employs 73 workers. Also, according to May, 80 percent of RI’s employees were previously unemployed. The company is expected soon to employee approximately 100 employees.

Representing the Community Bank of Pickens County, John Trammel said that the development authority has guaranteed loans for businesses in the past, saying that it wasn’t something out of the ordinary. Further, speaking on behalf of the economic authority, Economic Development Director Gerry Nechvatal said this is the type of thing other communities do to foster economic growth and the way to profit by the county’s assets and create jobs.

The board then went into executive session to discuss the company’s credit reports. Following executive session, the board unanimously approved to move forward with the intergovernmental agreement and a resolution. The board will officially vote on the documents during the February 21st regular meeting.

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