County Industrial Development Board reviewing PILOT agreement with Borla

Published 8:22 am Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Members of the Carter County Industrial Development Board are working to review an agreement between the county and a local industry for possible renewal.

When the Carter County Commission met on Nov. 20, the group appointed nine individuals to sit on the Industrial Development Board. Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey had previously told members of the Commission some members of the Board had told him they no longer wished to serve on the IDB and that all of the terms for the sitting IDB members had expired.

The county advertised for applicants to serve on the Board and 10 people applied to fill the nine vacancies: Kenneth Kelly, Richard Brewer, Dr. Arnold Hopland, Phil Isaacs, Elaine Skelton, Christopher Richardson, Peter Voigt, Jimmy Street, Chris Guy, and Carol McClellan. All 10 of the applicants were invited to speak to the Commission during their meeting on Nov. 20 and six accepted that invitation: Brewer, Hopland, Isaacs, Skelton, Voigt, and McClellan.

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After all the applicants had been given a chance to speak, Commission Chairman Dr. Robert Acuff opened the floor for nominations. Members of the Commission nominated Hopland, Street, Skelton, Guy, Voigt, Isaacs, Richardson, McClellan, and Brewer to serve on the Board. With no further nominations and since nine people were nominated to fill the nine slots, Commissioner Danny Ward made a motion to approve all nine nominees to the Board. Commissioner Nancy Brown seconded the motion, which then passed the full Commission.

Humphrey told the Commission one of the reasons filling the appointments was urgent is because the county’s Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) agreement with Borla Performance Industries and Borla Properties was set to expire on December 31.

Allen Stoner, the Chief Financial Officer of Borla Performance Industries and Borla Properties, sent a letter in October to Humphrey and Isaacs, who previously served as chairman of the IDB, asking for the county to renew the PILOT agreement.

Borla Performance Industries is located in a portion of Johnson City which lies within Carter County along I-26. In his letter, Stoner said the company had made investments to support continued economic growth at their facility.

“Borla has invested capital to support skilled manufacturing, engineering, and research and development job growth at the facility,” Stoner said.

Stoner also notes the company has invested heavily in capital and major improvements to the facility and grounds.

“As Mr. (Alex) Borla committed to do, the facility investments were made to maintain the campus as a showcase at the entrance to the city and county to encourage job growth in the facility and community,” Stoner said. “Borla actively supports the local, regional, and state economic development entities hosting domestic and international visitors as they showcase the area for development.”

Since the start of the current PILOT phase, Stoner said Borla has added 130 skilled manufacturing and support employees to its ranks. Also, the facility has supported “significant job growth” by providing space for tenants which added around 300 new positions during the 5-year PILOT phase according to Stoner.

Additionally, Stoner said, Borla has invested approximately $3.8 Million in capital equipment and major maintenance efforts.

“Borla intends to continue its success at the Carter County facility,” Stoner said. “Borla formally submits a request to renew the PILOT effective for an additional 10 years.”

During the Nov. 20 Commission meeting, members of the Commission voted to extend the current PILOT agreement with Borla until January 31, 2018, to allow time for the newly appointed Industrial Development Board to review the current PILOT agreement and the request by Borla and make a recommendation to the full Commission.

The Board is now tasked with completing that review and presenting it to the full Commission during the Commission meeting set for Tuesday, January 16, 2018.