Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

March 25, 2013

Entities to meet on tax suit

By Bob Belcher
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — A settlement in the tax abatement litigation with Home Depot Distribution Center may be near.

Three Navarro County governmental bodies that granted incentives to the company when it moved into the old K-Mart Distribution Center on South U.S. Highway 287 filed suit against the company in October 2012, after Home Depot closed down the distribution center and moved its operations to Dallas.

Navarro County, the city of Corsicana, and Navarro College claimed in the suit the company owed them $1.3 million in taxes since Home Depot broke the agreement by moving.

Monday, the Navarro County Commissioners Court met in closed session to hear an update on negotiations with the company, and acted by authorizing Navarro County Judge H.M. Davenport Jr. to complete negotiations and sign an agreement on behalf of the county with Home Depot.

The Corsicana City Council is scheduled to hold a special called meeting at 10 a.m. Tuesday, also a closed meeting to discuss litigation. Navarro College trustees will gather at noon Wednesday in the president’s dining room for a closed session on the topic as well.

The original abatement deal called for inventory of $47 million, capital improvements worth $4 million, and the creation of 250 jobs. The deal was amended in 2009 due to the downturn in the economy. The revised agreement called for $40 million in inventory, an increase in property improvement to $8 million, but only 150 jobs.

In November 2011, Home Depot said it was moving to a new facility in DeSoto, who offered the company and incentive package that included a new building and a 75 percent personal property tax abatement. Dallas County, the city of Dallas, the DeSoto Economic Development Corporation and private landowners provided in excess of $4.5 million in additional incentives to facilitate the move. The company completed the transition to DeSoto in 2012.

The Home Depot retail store in Corsicana is unaffected by the litigation.

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Commissioners Meeting Briefs



Burn Ban

The drought index continues to remain below caution levels, and no action was taken on any burn ban for Navarro County.



Silver Parhm honored

Longtime tax office employee Silver Parhm has announced her retirement. Commissioners approved a resolution proclaiming it “Silver Parhm Appreciation Day” in recognition of her years of service to Navarro County.



Treasurer’s report presented

County Treasurer Frank Hull presented the treasurer’s report for the month of February 2013. Hull reported interest year to date of $31,543.32, up 16 percent over year-ago figures.



Computer update contract approved

County Clerk Sherry Dowd reported on an update to the software used to post and record minutes and agendas of the commissioners court meetings. Commissioner James Olsen asked the contract be approved contingent on review by the District Attorney. Also, County Judge H.M. Davenport said some problems with accessing the county’s website are being addressed.



County auditor, staff reappointed

Consistent with a court order by District Judge James Lagomarsino, County Auditor Kathy Hollomon and her staff were reappointed. Commissioners approved the order.



Motor grader repairs approved

At the request of Commissioner David “Butch” Warren, the court approved repairs in the amount of $32,878 for a motor grader in Precinct 3.



Payment to hospital approved

Commissioners approved payment to Navarro Regional under the county’s agreement with the hospital for indigent health care, formerly called the “1115 waiver.” Hospital CEO Xavier Villarreal said the hospital has provided $631,000 in care under the program since October. The court approved the quarterly payment of $125,000 to the hospital.



Fire truck funding modified

Due to the transfer of a fire truck from Roane Volunteer Fire Department to Barry Volunteer Fire Department, commissioners voted to move funding for the one truck from Roane to Barry.



Transfer of funds OK’d

At the request of the sheriff’s department, commissioners approved a transfer of $10,000 from the Sheriff’s Seizure trust to the Seizure Machinery and Equipment budget. Capt. Brett Latta said the funds will be used to supplement the cost of a new vehicle for the Criminal Investigation Division.



Planning and Zoning actions approved

Commissioners approved actions of the Lake Planning and Zoning Commission to approve a replat of Village Woods, Lot 27A, for Bill Westell; and a Specific Use Permit for Kelly Murphy for an RV park off Highway 287.

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Bob Belcher may be reached by email at bbelcher@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “soundoff” on this story? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com