The recent Fairfield Bay City Council meeting, while fairly low key, went into several business development issues for the community.
The first item, at the Monday, May 8, meeting, was Mayor Paul Wellenberger’s presentation to the body for a boat factory considering moving to Fairfield Bay. The factory, not named in the presentation, would produce both boats and trailers with 35 employees to start. Estimated initial investment into the community to establish the plant, including building on a 7 acre site, only a portion of which would be used for the factory itself, is $3.8 milion.
The city was in negotiation with the factory, and this included recent meetings which included Congressman French Hill and his staff speaking with those considering building the factory. No indication was made as to how many sites are in competition for Fairfield Bay for the factory. In a post-meeting interview, Wellenberger said County Judge Roger Hooper had also been on-site for negotiations.
Part of the consideration for the factory was how to incent the business people to build there, Wellenberger told the council. One consideration, working with Arkansas Development Finance Authority, representatives of which were on-site for the negotiations, was a municipal bond which would finance the construction and have the city own the building during the bond term. Tax breaks were also a consideration, Wellenberger said, adding that French Hill offered to personally make calls to assure the plant’s location in the community.
The matter remained in consideration, as business plans were in the process of being submitted and studied.
Second was the ongoing efforts to get a hotel in Fairfield Bay, a long-desired business for Fairfield Bay in order to makes its conference center more attractive, among other reasons. Negotiations and conversations in consideration continue with the investment group looking at building a hotel in Fairfield Bay, Wellenberger said, also during the Economic Development portion of the meeting. During new business a letter of engagement between BD Alliance, the hotel investment group, and the City of Fairfield Bay was considered, but not brought up for vote. It was not voted upon as the letter included some business confidential matters related to BD Alliance’s affairs and would be inappropriate for public meeting, in turn making them, including the competitive information, available as public record.
In other council matters:Building permits were up, a significant reason due to storm damage and that roof replacement requires a building permit.The police department will soon be able to deploy portable speed bumps for traffic controlThe city’s new ambulance is in service. The ambulance cost was $148,000.The fire department is working with insurance companies to get reimbursed for the cost of responding to an emergency. This is a typical arrangement and does not impact insurance rates or reimbursement to homeowners, Chief John Evans told the council.Parks reported that due to rusting some equipment in the swimming area would need to be upgraded, but would wait until the water level was down to normal levels.The council voted on, and approved, the purchase of a parking lot near the conference center for “an amount not to exceed $45,000.”A radio station is moving into Fairfield Bay.