UPDATED: Monroe City Council Votes to Move Forward with Gardner Denver Thomas Project

UPDATED: Monroe City Council Votes to Move Forward with Gardner Denver Thomas Project

The Monroe City Council breathes new life into project involving a major employer.

UPDATE:

 The I-20 Economic Development Corp. has voted in Thursday night's meeting to continue the $400,000 commitment to Gardner Denver Thomas for renovations.

The board agreed to continue the commitment as long as the funds are available.

A board member said that perhaps this will encourage the company down the road to expand.

They will draft a letter of statement to the company informing them of their decision.


Previous: The Monroe City Council breathes new life into project involving a major employer.   Two weeks ago council members Eddie Clark, Betty Blakes, and Ray Armstrong voted down a request to advertise for bids on a 650-thousand dollar renovation project at the Gardner Denver Thomas plant. It was part of a cooperative agreement with GDT to renovate the city-owned building. 

"This whole episode has a been a public relations nightmare," says Monroe Chamber of Commerce Chairman Tim Green. 

Nell Bradley says the project is too expensive, "It's just to remodel the lobby, 650-thousand dollars?"

Marie Brown says she takes the council's decision personal, "I'm here to serve an unofficial pink slip for the council."

Concerned citizens packed Monroe City Hall to see how the city council would handle what one person called the Gardner Denver debacle.

"It puts a black eye on this city, when we don't stand behind what we tell the companies," says Regina Lynch. 
  
The cooperative agreement was approved by the council on August 13th. It included the renovation to the building, funded by Gardner Denver Thomas and the I-20 Economic Development District. The money invested by the I-20 board, would then be paid back by GDT through increased rent over the next 20 years. 

"It's not only the jobs they have there. It's the impact they have on our community and our region," says Councilwoman Gretchen Ezernack. 

The opposing council members say the red flag is the funding source. They say the city should make the investment, not the I-20 Economic Development District. 

"I don't see where the issue is, the fund have already been allocated by our word, back in August," says Ezernack. 

Tuesday night, council members Ray Armstrong and Betty Blakes switched their vote to approve the original request. Only Clark voted in opposition. 

"I felt it was important to put this behind us, to move forward, to give Gardner Denver the money that they need for their renovation of their lobby and so that's what I did," says Armstrong. 

And while Mayor Jamie Mayo is pleased with the vote, he worries the council member's previous decision could have repercussions down the road. 

"We don't need these type of things happening where there are long drawn out, in which the company gets pulled in the middle," says Mayor Mayo. 

Clark also proposed a resolution concerning the project, with the intent for the city to make the 400-thousand dollar investment. However, that failed 2-3 before the original request was reconsidered and passed. Now, the project manager for the GDT renovation will now be able to advertise for bids and move forward with the project. 

ORIGINAL STORY:
MONROE -- Tonight, the council will consider two different ordinances concerning Gardner Denver Thomas and the renovation project at the building where they operate, a building owned by the city.

Two weeks ago, the council voted 3-2 not to allow the project manager to advertise for bids for the work needed, which stopped the project in its tracks.

The hitch for the opposing council members is the funding. It's a $650,000 renovation prjoect. Gardner Denver Thomas will pay for some of it, but the rest would come from the I-20 Economic Development District.

Then Gardner Denver Thomas would pay that money back through their lease for the next 20 years.

Councilman Ray Armstrong has said since the last meeting - he will support the original request when reconsidered tonight - which would give it the three votes needed.

KARD/KTVE's Nina Criscuolo have all the details on what happened during the meeting tonight at ten.
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