Coffee County Commissioner Dwight Miller informed members of the Coffee County Budget and Finance Committee that a new board has been created with the purpose of renegotiating the contract between Coffee County, Manchester City and the Public Building Authority (PBA), the board that owns and operates the Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center. The current contract – which obligates Coffee County and Manchester City to equally cover operating losses of the conference center and gives no control to the county and the city over the center – expires in 2021.
The new committee – called the PBA Contract Negotiation Committee – was established in March, according to PBA member Zach Lowry.
The six members selected to serve on the board are Lowry, PBA Chairman Stan Teal, County Commissioner Jim Fielding, County Commissioner Dwight Miller, Manchester City Alderman Mark Messick and Jewell Noblitt, who will represent Manchester City.
“The committee was originally discussed at our February meeting and requests were sent to (Coffee County) Mayor (Gary) Cordell and (Manchester City) Mayor Lonnie Norman asking for their appointments by our March meeting,” Lowry said.
Cordell appointed Miller and Fielding to represent Coffee County, and Norman appointed Noblitt and Messick to represent Manchester, according to Lowry.
“The PBA did not vote on the appointments from the city or the county,” Lowry said. “We did not require a vote for our internal appointments.”
Neither city nor county officials have voted to approve the new committee.
“Since it is not a city or county entity and just a group formed by the PBA with requested representatives from the city and county, I don’t see how a vote would be necessary on their parts,” Lowry said. “The eventual negotiated agreement, however, will need to be voted on by the commission and the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen.”
The new committee has not had any meetings yet.
About the contract
The contract outlining the relationships between county, city and PBA expires in 2021.
There are two agreements that define the relationships between county, city and PBA. The first is Loan Agreement Z-4-A and the second is the operating agreement between the county and the city signed in 2000. Loan Agreement Z-4-A, updated in November 2006, involves repayment of the original bond and cannot be changed or amended before the bond is completely paid. The bond is set to be paid off in 2021. Payments on the bond issue as well as operating losses are split 50/50 between Coffee County and Manchester City.
According to these agreements, Coffee County and Manchester City are obligated to pay for expenses of the conference center, but the two entities have no oversight over the center.