With two days to spare, the Economic Development Corp. of Jefferson County approved a new contract with the Economic Development Alliance for Jefferson County to recruit and retain businesses and industries here.
The current contract between the group, commonly called the tax board, and the Economic Development Alliance for Jefferson County expires Oct. 1. In July, George Makris Jr., the chairman of the tax board, announced that the group would not renew the current agreement with the Alliance, which has provided services since the adoption of the three-eighths cent sales tax that was approved by county voters for economic development in 2011 and carried a seven-year sunset clause.
That contract called for the Alliance to be paid a percentage of the taxes collected in exchange for their services. Tax collections ended in June, and earlier this year, Makris announced that the tax board would not seek a vote to renew the tax.
At a special called meeting of the tax board on Sept. 28, Makris said there has been a lot of discussion between the two sides about a new contract and those discussions concluded earlier this week. Afterward, attorneys put the items discussed into the contract, which was approved by the board unanimously.
The new contract calls for the Alliance to be paid a total of $533,926 for the period beginning Oct. 1 and ending Sept. 30, 2019, payable in four quarterly payments due on or before the fifth day after the quarter ends. Makris said the amount is the same as the Alliance received over the past year.
“There’s’ no increase,” he said.
Lou Ann Nisbett is president and CEO of the Alliance while Caleb McMahon holds the position of director of economic development.
For the previous seven years, the Alliance was required to submit an annual report summarizing the activities they have performed and that will continue. Also, they will be required to submit a report on or before Jan. 15 listing the number of primary jobs created or retained during the previous year, the net change in the number of primary jobs and the total amount of capital invested over the previous year.
The terms of the contract are for one year and will be automatically extended for a period of 90 days unless the tax board or the Alliance decides to cancel the agreement.
Makris said that 90-day period was built in so that if the contract is canceled, it would give the tax board time to try and find another contractor and the Alliance time to finish up the work they had been doing.
Over its seven-year span, the tax brought in an average of $3.5 million annually. In July, Makris said the board had over $14 million in the bank.