County finalizing park lease

Published 11:59 pm Monday, August 31, 2009

A deal to sublease Pt. A Park to a private contractor should be “finished this week,” commissioners were informed Monday by county attorney Julie Moody.

The agreement between the county and Thom Watson and Sweet Home Alabama Campground LLC would allow Watson to sublease the campground from the county and would require him to assume the operation and maintenance and the necessary costs of the campground.

Watson said during the commission meeting he had “many good ideas” for the campground and wanted to execute the agreement as soon as possible.

“I think this is going to be a good point for the county,” Watson said of the agreement. “First off, I’d have to pay lodging tax, which is additional revenue the county isn’t collecting now. I’ve got many good ideas, interesting ideas, for things out at the campground.”

Although a Florida resident, Watson said his late grandparents lived on Brooklyn Road, on property that still belongs to the family, and that he and his wife own property on Gantt Lake.

Neither commissioners nor Watson discussed any specifics of the contract; instead, commissioners gave Chairman Lynn Sasser the authorization to enter into the agreement. Moody said she is working with Watson’s attorney to complete that agreement.

In light of decreasing revenues, commissioners were given three options to cut expenditures at the end of 2008 — selling or leasing the U.S.D.A. building, the Covington Center Arena and Pt. A Park.

To date, one of those three options — leasing the Covington Center Arena — has helped save the county an estimated $200,000 in expenses associated with its operation and maintenance.

Subleasing the Pt. A Park, which is owned by PowerSouth but under the control of the county, could save the county $83,000 annually, according to budgeted figures.

In other business, the commission:

Adopted compensatory time policy that requires all employees expend “comp time” before using vacation time, beginning Jan. 1, 2010.

Approved a retail liquor license for The Store on Hamner Road.

Set a public hearing for Nov. 9 to discuss vacating a portion of Cook Loop Road in District 4.

Renewed the county’s agreement with RDS (formerly Alatax) to collect sales and use tax.

Approved a resolution to participate in the Tiger Grant program, which could provide funding for bridge repair.

Gave final approval for the River’s Edge subdivision.