Smyrna Airport May Get IDB Aid
January 15, 2013
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  • By: Scott Broden

    Committee supports $330,000 for jobs plan

    MURFREESBORO — Smyrna Airport Executive Director John Black hopes a $10.2 million expansion for a hangar and office will come to fruition with the help of a $330,000 donation from the Rutherford County Industrial Development Board.

    “It’s about jobs in Rutherford County,” Black said Monday after an Industrial Development Board committee recommended giving the airport $330,000 during a two-year period.

    IDB Vice Chairman Randall Matlock, the former county finance director, persuaded the full board to study its committee recommendation for the next couple of weeks before voting on the proposal to give the airport $330,000 during a two-year period.

    The IDB’s next meeting starts at 9 a.m. Jan. 30 at the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce office on the north side of Medical Center Parkway near Interstate 24.

    The Smyrna/Rutherford Airport Commissionin December requested the IDB donate $1 million. The airport project is supposed to add 50 to 100 employees through construction of a 29,000-square-foot hangar, 15,000-square-foot office, auto and aircraft parking areas, associated taxiway connectors, repairs to existing hangars, and having another 40 acres ready for development from businesses interested in leasing space.

    To pay for the project, commissioners had proposed combining $1 million from the IDB with $5.7 million from a federal grant and $4 million from a loan from the town and county.

    Black thanked the IDB for the proposal to contribute $330,000 toward the project.

    The IDB collects revenues from businesses paying application fees for tax breaks and bond authorizations, as well as from a trust fundestablished about year ago from a $6.25 million payment from Nissan. The trust fund had grown to nearly $6.63 million by Dec. 31, 2012.

    Matlock’s motion to defer a vote also called for the IDB to study a proposed policy on grants from the board. IDB member Rob Lyons, who is the Murfreesboro city manager, presented a proposed policy during the meeting.

    The policy calls for the IDB to use its funds to promote economic development projects that help increase and retain employment, improve the business environment, upgrade the physical characteristics of the county and provide financing for land, buildings, fixed equipment, machinery and research and development to eligible businesses within the county.

    “Anything we do has to be compliant with state law,” Lyons said. “Based on the projected pro forma and draft policies, it is expected that the IDB would have approximately $400,000 to $600,000 per year for grants.”

    The Nissan trust fund, Lyons said, should have a 4 percent distribution rate, which in 2013 would be $264,273 from an account estimated to be $6.6 million. By 2016, the trust would grow to about $7.65 million with a distribution of $305,928.

    IDB member Ed Davenport, who served as the chairman of the committee that examined the airport request, agreed with Lyons’ suggestion to fund the Smyrna Airport project over two years at $330,000.

    “We don’t want to encroach upon the principal (of Nissan trust fund),” said Davenport, a Smyrna resident and banker who noted that helping the airport develop its 400-acre office park is “in keeping what we’re supposed to be here for.”

    The IDB has also pledged giving Motlow State Community College $313,000 to help expand its Smyrna campus, as well as donate $150,000 per year to Destination Rutherford, an organization that works with the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce to recruitindustry, jobs and tourism here.

    Chamber President Paul Latture noted that Destination Rutherford gives the county an edge when it comes to competing for jobs, such as the 4,000 new ones along with capital investment to build industry in 2012.

    In addition to Destination Rutherford, Motlow and Smyrna Airport, MTSU is seeking funding from the community to help pay for its new science building, said Lyons, whose city is planning to contribute $1 million toward the science building.

    MTSU has yet to make a request for an IDB contribution to the science building, said IDB attorney Sumner Bouldin.

    The board also approved paying Bouldin $52,097.50 for the legal services he provided for the IDB in 2012.