County Commission Agrees to Publish Legal Options For Rescinding Rockwool PILOT Tax Breaks
The Jefferson County Commission (JCC) met today and for once, WE were on the agenda and Rockwool executives had to line up for 3 minute public comment! Of course citizens opposing Rockwool still filled the room and spoke by the dozens, while Chris Kinnan and Melissa Hynes presented in the 15 minute time slot. Many speakers demanded action by the JCC to rein in the Jefferson County Development Authority (JCDA), which seems more beholden to Rockwool than accountable to the people of Jefferson County who pay their salaries.
The JCC ultimately controls the JCDA and selects its Board of Directors, but the commissioners are reluctant to confront what is increasingly a rogue government agency. We are grateful the JCC did allow the Q & A to substantially exceed the allotted time, and they also made a significant offer. The JCC is going to have their legal counsel review the actual impact of rescinding the PILOT agreement, and make that legal opinion memo available to the public. They also agreed to do that before the Sept. 18th JCDA vote on the Rockwool water bond-- so there will be a special meeting on this subject. Commissioner Josh Compton further indicated he'd support calling for a delay on the vote at the JCDA if the legal opinion wasn't ready in time.
The JCC's general argument that this is "all Ranson, we can do nothing" is clearly wrong; the County Commission needs to oppose Rockwool infrastructure being financed by an arm of the County government: our JCDA a.k.a. Department of Rockwool.