A valuable rule of life is that if you haven't got much to say, don't say it! That doesn't work for newspapers, though. So what The Planet does on slow news weeks is serve you up a leetle bit of this and a smidgeon of that in yet another scintillatin' edition of...
Let's get started!
Star Party at Cloudland Canyon
You're invited to the next thrillin' rendish of Cloudland Canyon State Park's periodic star parties, 8-10 p.m. this Saturday, June 1. Star parties are conducted by the Barnard Astronomical Society and sponsored by the staff and Friends of Cloudland Canyon State Park. Come see the wonders of the night sky through telescopes. Gather at 7 p.m. at the Disc Golf Course--there will be signs--and bring a lawn chair or blanket if desired. Temps are supposed to cool off to the 80s--whoop!--and the Fine Neighbors String Band will provide live music. The star party is free but remember
there's a $5/car parking fee at the park if you don't have an annual pass. (Or you can always check a pass out for free at the Dade County Public Library.)
Free Outdoor Movie on Square
Or if you don't feel like driving up the mountain, but you still want to sit outside on the grass and be entertained, here's another freebie: The Dade County Public Library with the sponsorship of the Bank of Dade will offer a free "Family Movie Night on the Square" at 8:30 p.m. also this Saturday, June 1. Bring blankets to sit on; popcorn and drinks provided. The library never posts its outdoor movie title but will tell you if call--(706) 657-7857.
Fire Chiefs Meeting
An ISO (Insurance Services Office) representative will attend the Dade County Fire Chiefs’ Association meeting at 6 p.m. on Monday, June 3, in the Dade Administrative Building. The Dade County and Trenton City commissions and the Dade Water Board are invited to attend this joint meeting to seek additional information about ISO ratings. The general public is also welcome to attend. Fire chiefs' meetings are usually attended only by, well, fire chiefs; but ISO ratings affect everybody--they are an important factor in determining how much you'll pay for homeowners insurance. That, and the fact that Dade's had some trouble with keeping fire hydrants in good repair lately, made the chiefs think they'd better unfold some extra chairs this month.
Dade County Commission Meeting
The regular June meeting of the Dade County Commission is at 6 p.m. this Thursday, June 6, in the Dade County Admninistrative Building. Participate in your local government! Affect your environment! Communicate with your representatives! But be careful about the cookie tray. Make sure before you convey 'em to the mouth that cookies with dark spots are really chocolate chip cookies and not oatmeal-raisin. The ones with raisins totally suck.
Trenton City Commish
And if the county commission would love to see more citizens participating in democracy, imagine how desperate for company the smaller Trenton City Commission is. Sometimes the mayor and commissioners are so tickled to have guests, they hand out taxpayer funds for the asking! (Hint: Tell 'em you'll use the dough to increase tourism.) The Trenton City Commission holds its regular June meeting at 6 p.m. on Monday, June 10, at City Hall.
Yeah, yeah, so you find it too boring to go to local government meetings. That's why The Planet makes the big bucks, right? Well, The Planet did attend the latest IDA (Industrial Development Authority) meeting on May 20--in order to watchdog how IDA's spending your big bucks--but could not suck enough drama out of it for a whole news article, so this seems a good place to cough up what did emerge.
Executive Director William Back updated the board on the usual plethora of mysterious prospects--Project Reflection, Project Hickory Bark, Project Ship--with subsequent warnings that they're probably not fixin' to happen in any case--“That deal may or may not materialize"--or even that they probably shouldn't--“I see it as primarily a negative for the county.” About one prospective deal he said a special called meeting might be needed to discuss real estate. He in fact called such a meeting for the following Friday, May 24, but IDA Chairman Doug Anderton reported that no action was taken at that one, either.
Back asked for and received permission to get estimates for the services of a certified public accountant--he seemed to have someone in mind--as opposed to replacing IDA's recently departed bookkeeper. He said he could take care of the bookkeeper's incidental duties himself. "We've already saved $1200," he said.
IDA promotes local businesses--except the banks
And on the subject of money, Back suggested taking IDA's funds out of the hands of Dade's two local banks. “We could make a little more money on our savings,” he said. He said he'd had offers from several national lenders. “We’re talking about a $3300 difference in our cash flow just by moving our source,” he said. Dade's local bankers may be relieved to hear that no action was taken on that item. Either.
Back moved on then to other perennial subjects, a roof he often discusses replacing on one of the properties for which IDA acts as landlord, but never does seem to replace, and new signs at the industrial park. (Back is partial to signs and they are not only a major topic at most IDA meetings but the entire focus of his tourism promotion group, Scenic Dade Development) (to which the city recently gave $15,000) (to improve tourism, what else?)
Back presented a problem and a proposed solution for a cement-block CHI outbuilding which had developed bubbles in its rubberized paint.
“Does your brother-in-law still do the commercial painting?” IDA board member Sharon Moore asked IDA board member Larry Moore. In the end, the board did not act there, either, “Let’s have a couple more bids," said Ms. Moore. "That sounds high to me.”
Back also told the board that Trenton manufacturer Integer wanted to put a 900-square-foot storage facility on some property IDA had set aside for the company's use; did the board have any any objection? A discussion ensued about how much
land was left of the property in question and whether the company wished to purchase or just lease it. "Historically they haven’t wanted to own land, but that was about three companies ago,” said Robin Rogers, the county attorney, who acts as IDA's legal advisor. (Integer is the entiity previously known as Lake Region and before that Accellent.)
"If they want to own it, let them own it and let them pay taxes on it,” suggested board member to Larry Moore. (IDA owns buildings and acts as landlord to the tenant companies so as to help them avoid local property taxes.) But again, no action was taken. Attorney Rogers said he'd check a survey he had of the property in question.
Back did have progress to report on one project: getting industrial park land values raised so it seemed like a more valuable gift when IDA gives acreage away as an incentive for companies to move to Dade. “The tax assessor was very cooperative,” he said.
What the County Pays For This
In other business, Robin Rogers questioned a $30,000 budget item presented by Back and Back explained it was IDA's reimbursement to Dade County for a part of his salary. The Planet asked for clarification on that and learned from County Clerk Don Townsend:
"Annually, the IDA reimburses the County $30,000 and the City of Trenton reimburses the County $15,000. Whereas the County’s contribution of $30,000 makes up the $75,000. William Back’s actual salary was set at $50,000 plus statutory and fringe benefits (Group Insurance; FICA; FICA-Med; Retirement; SUTA & Workers Comp premium). We also split any utilities (telephone); printing and binding; travel; dues and fees; education and training; general supplies and materials to run the office; etc. All which totals $75,000 annually."
Well, that's more about IDA than anybody could eat at one sitting. It's enough to be getting on with, anyway, so for this week, it's over and out for....