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Meat processor considering Cannon County for plant

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The Cannon County Industrial Development Board is considering approving a meat processing plant for the rural county.

The IDB is a committee of citizens who have volunteered to serve the function of attracting businesses to Cannon County to provide employment, additional tax revenues, and general economic growth.

Diligent effort will be made to search out businesses that have track records of success and are looking for a location to grow or expand their business in a welcoming, friendly community.

It didn’t take too long for the board to prove that diligent effort when it invited representatives from an Amarillo, Texas specialty meat processing plant, H&R Foods, to introduce themselves to every board member and the few members of the audience.

As a regional specialty foods distribution company, H&R Foods focuses on beef, pork, and poultry.

Owner Barry Vernon and sales representative Clint Haider along with Mike Wilson let the Board know of their general interest in putting together a small-scale meat processing and food service distribution plant in Cannon County.

Because the business plan is small and conservative, there would be no immediate plans to do any of the slaughtering at the possible site. The owners are considering Cannon County as one of the locations of their Tennessee operations.

Other possible locations were not disclosed. The owners will be working with IDB members Neal Applebaum and Doug Bodary to develop a list of all of the items they would need in place, including land, type of building and other items that will allow them to start operations here.

The owners, however, also strongly suggested that no final location has been determined and they could open operations in another county somewhere in the state.

Board Member Mindy Gunter gave a treasurer’s report and the Board quickly saw where the IDB had lost some of its rent revenue. Because of past handshake deals with current tenants in the board-owned Industrial Properties, rent monies have not been paid.

Crane Interiors pays $7,200 a month rent and it was noted that $16,000 was not collected in the past year due to an agreement that would allow Crane to keep operations going during a lapse in the economy.

Building rent was also not collected on PC Disposal and THC Select, which is housed in the old Cumberland Mold Building. Past IDBs cut handshake deals with THC Select. Those agreements may be in violation of state laws.

THC Select had a handshake deal in place that would keep it from having to pay rent for an extended period of time so the business could get its local operations underway.

A motion was made and passed that if the information is not given by then, Chairman Randall Reid would then contact the county attorney to find out what the steps would be toward evicting those tenants. It was noted that eviction is not the wishes of the Board and they hope to have everything resolved in this matter as smoothly as possible.

According to records, THC Select has a rent payment of $5,500 a month while PC Disposals rent fluctuates from $500 to $1,500 a month. The total amount of rent that has not been turned in to the IDB is more than $55,000 for the fiscal year 2011 fiscal year.

The board will work with these tenants so they can start showing positive revenue numbers.

The board gave Reid short term co-signing of board checks.

The board also approved giving Crane Interiors an open purchase order of up to $1,500 for any emergency purchase if necessary. Any other modifications to the building or anything else on the property needs to be submitted from here on out to the Industrial Board for approval. In the past, Crane had been making modifications or emergency purchases and taking it off their monthly $7,500 rent payment.
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Agriculture, Business, Cannon County, Economy, Food, Jobs, Tennessee
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