By Lynn West
The Union County Board of Supervisors approved a sublease agreement with Emerald Mississippi Monday. That’s after having learned the company is not using all of its space.
Officials said the company has ceased manufacturing operations here but is using some of the 200,000 square foot facility for warehousing.
The sublease would apparently be to the H. T. Hackney Company. The company is a large long-established grocery wholesaler.
Board attorney Chandler Rogers said the initial period would be for six months but could extend to 12 to 18 months, It could even lead to purchase of the building, he added.
Emerald Home Furnishings, an international home furnishings company, announced in 2015 that it would be moving to New Albany. They planned to renovate the former Hickory Springs plant, which had formerly been Denton Mills. The plan was to purchase the building and put about $2 million into improvements for the facility.
Stationary furniture would be manufactured first with 150 jobs eventually needed.
To facilitate the plan, Union County obtained a $2 million capital loan to purchase the building. That would allow them to qualify for grant money. Emerald got about $1.39 million in grant money and supplemented that with its own funds to reach the $2 million.
Emerald would then operate the plant on a lease-purchase basis with the county.
Attorney Rogers said that Emerald has satisfied all the conditions of its grant and loan. The company also is current in its payments to Union County. And, if the sublessor fails to pay rent that will fall back on Emerald.
In other business, supervisors set a public hearing for Dec. 16 on closing a section of County Road 260. Fifth District Supervisor Steve Watson said he had a request from a landowner adjoining the road, along with supporting signatures from all affected landowners.
The road is in the northeastern part of the county near Dumas.
The board approved a longevity raise for DARE officer Tressa Hester in the sheriff’s department. They also accepted a low quote of $28,385 from Conditioned Air in Tupelo to repair HVAC equipment in the sheriff’s department. The higher quote was about $13,000 higher.
Upon recommendation by emergency management director Curt Clayton, the board approved a proclamation of existence of local emergency. Clayton explained that the wind damage from a tropical storm Oct. 26 did not cause enough infrastructure damage to warrant a disaster proclamation. However, the damage to area utility lines and poles would be enough for this sort of proclamation.
The next scheduled meeting of the board will be Monday, Dec. 2, at 10 a.m. in the chancery court boardroom.
It was noted that county offices will be closed Nov. 28 and 29 for Thanksgiving, Dec. 24 and 25 for Christmas and only Jan. 1 for New Year’s Day.
All county officials will take their oath of office for the new term at 2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 30, in the circuit courtroom.Emerald Mississippi, furniture, grant, New Albany, supervisors, Union County, wholesale