County extends 1 cent sales tax for hospital Greene County Commission rejects Greenetrack’s offer to settle outstanding lease payments

At the Greene County Commission’s work session held Wednesday, April 6, 2016, Commissioner Allen Turner, Jr. presented a document from Greenetrack CEO Luther Winn offering $600,000 to settle the outstanding lease payments due to the county from Greenetrack.  The offer presented in the Commission’s work session indicated that Greenetrack would pay $250,000 as lease payment for 2013; $150,000 for 2014; $100,000 for 2015; and $100,000 for 2016.
At the following monthly meeting held Monday, April 11, 2016, the County Commission voted to reject  that offer from Luther Winn and Greenetrack, Inc. The Commission supported a motion directing the Chairperson to inform Winn in writing that the last lease agreement was set at a payment of $250,000 annually and at this time discussions on a new agreement were necessary.
Greene County and Greenetrack, Inc. own jointly the physical property where Greenetrack operates simulcasting dog and horse racing as well as the electronic bingo operations. Greenetrack and the County Commission had an agreement in which Greenetrack, Inc. would pay a designated amount for use of the county’s portion of the property.  The current 20 year lease agreement was reached by the two parties in 2008 with Greenetrack committing to pay the county $250,000 per year.  Reportedly, this agreement stated that the lease amount could be re-negotiated every 5 years.  If there was no re-negotiation, the current lease payment would continue.  There was no re-negotiated lease agreement between the parties since 2008.
Based on the 2008 agreement Greenetrack owes the county $1 million dollars in lease fees.
The County Commission agreed to extend, for an additional 10 years, a one cent sales tax which supports the Greene County Health System.  That sales tax generates approximately $35,000 per month for the hospital system.  The county’s authorization included language which would allow the hospital to pursue other financial assistance against this guaranteed sales tax revenue. County CFO, Paula Bird reported the total funds in banks as of March 16, 2016 as follows:  Citizen Trust Bank $2,398,717.49; Merchants & Farmers Bank $1,636,341.33; CD Bond Fund Investments $566,145.29; Bank of New York $575,610.26. The CFO reported one budget amendment request from Sheriff Jonathan Benison to move $8,000 from the fuel account to the account for repairs to motor vehicles. The Commission approved this request as well as the financial, claims, revenue and expenditures reports presented by Bird.
Mrs. Joyce Pham and Ms. Katie Powell were appointed to serve on the Housing Authority of Greene County Board of Directors for Districts 5 and 2, respectively. The appointment for District I was tabled.
The Commission also tabled the J.C. Poole Library Board appointments for Districts 1 and 3.
In other business the Commission approved the following:
* Travel requests for employee training: Rhonda French – Payroll Certification Program; Tanesha Mack and Blake McMillian – ACCA Jail Training; Jeremy Rancher – Child Abuse Training; Iris Sermon and Hodges Smith – EMITS; Iris Sermon – Fusion; Commissioners Brown, Cockrell and Williams – Prattville Training.
* Resolution regarding the Abatement of Taxes and support of the passage of HB 169 and SB 96.
* Resolution adopting a Title VI Plan for ALDOT grant (Nutrition Program).
* Resolution approving the 2016 Sales Tax Holiday.
* Resolution approving the Finley McRae Cemetery.
* Board of Education’s request to use lawn of the former Miles College building for a parent cookout on April 22, 2016.