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County among finalists for new industry

Warren County has made the top three sites for The Blue Sun Project, according to director of economic development Jeff McCormick.
 “The Blue Sun Project I had to go to Atlanta and make a presentation on has made the top three cuts in Tennessee,” said McCormick. “We are in the top three sites for their business so hopefully we will know something soon.”
McCormick has said there were around 30 communities in the running for this industry, which is an automotive supplier. He says the company specializes in interior components and is interested in the Spec Building 3 site that is under development.
McCormick says the company has indicated it would have about 190 employees within three to five years.
McCormick’s report came during a meeting of the Joint Economic Community Development Board. McCormick also told the board he has tendered his resignation effective Dec. 31.
“I feel Jeff’s done an outstanding job and want to thank him for all his hard work,” said Morrison Mayor Sue Anderson.
County Executive John Pelham concurred, saying, “I have very much enjoyed working with Mayor Rone and Jeff. Jeff has done a tremendous amount of work for this county. Both of these gentlemen have made a positive impact on our community while they have been here. I am going to miss working with them. I am, however, looking forward to working with Jimmy.”
McMinnville Mayor Norman Rone, who was absent from the meeting, was voted out of office Nov. 6. Jimmy Haley will become mayor Nov. 27 and will take his place on the board.
In other action, Dickie Hillis reported Caney Fork Electric has set 53 new meters since March.
“We were down 60 to 80 last year,” said Hillis. “Since March, we have seen constant growth. Any growth is good. It has not been an easy three or four years. Budgets are tight. When you only have so much coming in, you’ve got to manage it.”
In the absence of Gary Martin, Pelham gave an agriculture industry update. Pelham said nurserymen are not overall back to where they had been, but are still having a good year thus far.
“The trend is showing a small, but constant growth,” said Pelham. “Corn farmers are not doing as well because of the drought. But, late soybeans are doing better because of late rains.”
Director of Schools Bobby Cox said Dibrell School is finished and closed out. “Everything has been paid except $12,000 in liquidated damages where they didn’t get through on time. That’s in discussion, I guess. We withheld that from the payment. Attorneys will deal with that,” said Cox.
“We got a good deal with Morrison School, a very good deal,” said Cox. “We are finishing outside work at Morrison, the retention pond in the back, sowing seed, leveling dirt, things of that type.”
Cox also said the state report card received a good grade. “Academically, our state report card was good. We had an increase in academic scores. Our graduation rate is up above 92 percent and it was 88 percent last year. We’ve still got work to do,” said Cox.
Pelham said, “We continue to see things improve with the financial act. The process itself when establishing an entirely new department is the best anyone can do will have some confusion. Each time you do it, it gets better. We have many people working tirelessly behind the scenes. I’m proud of everybody and how far we’ve come.”
Pelham was referring to the County Financial Management System Act of 1981, which the county decided to implement during this fiscal year. The act combined the financial departments of Warren County government, Warren County Schools, and the Warren County Highway Department into one new department.


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