By REID TUCKER
The finalization of an agreement to open a Dollar General store in the city of Paxton moved ahead as the Town Council approved a contract with Teramore Development, LLC., the company acting as the project’s facilitator.
Teramore’s role in the affair is to set up the infrastructure needed
to attract businesses such as Dollar General to rural areas like Paxton, Mossy Head and others. In addition to constructing the roughly $650,000 building to be occupied by Dollar General, Teramore will hold its own lease on the building with Dollar General for a period of 15 years with an option to renew for a further 15. According to the agreement with the city, Teramore will pay the monthly rent and
property taxes and will carry insurance, while Dollar General will rent the building from Teramore.
Thus, the city of Paxton’s agreement is first with Teramore, then with Dollar General, as City Attorney Lori Bytell explained at the Council’s June 19 meeting. Bytell informed the Council members of two issues that arose with the agreement, drafted since last month’s meeting, which had to be revised if the deal was to
go forward. Firstly, Teramore’s legal department requested that an offer from the
city to donate two acres of land in order to secure Dollar General’s 15-year lease on the property be changed so that the city would instead sell the property at a “nominal price” between $1,000 and $4,000. Secondly, Teramore requested that the city remove language from the lease agreement that would make the company liable for restitution to the city should the Dollar General store close its doors for a period of 60-120 days. Bytell said this second change to the contract was necessary as the previous language could prohibit Teramore from attracting Dollar General to take up a lease on the property and could similarly halt another business from taking over the lease in the event of Dollar General’s pullout from the property.
The Town Council voted 4-0 (Councilman Bobby Kemp was not in
attendance at the meeting) in favor of making these revisions to the contract, which was otherwise unchanged from its original draft. Provisions from the city remaining in the contract include the stipulation that no tenant on the property can operate a
“non-family-oriented business” such as a liquor store or gentleman’s club. The next phase before construction begins on the property, located just south of the Walton County Sheriff’s Office substation on U.S. 331, is for representatives from Dollar General to attend a Town Council meeting to seek public feedback on the design of the building.
A proposed ordinance prohibiting sex offenders and convicted sexual
predators from entering city parks, including the Dixie Youth League baseball complex, under penalty of a second-degree misdemeanor was reviewed and had its first reading at the meeting. The ordinance, which, if approved following its second reading at next month’s Council meeting, will amend the city’s code of ordinances to prohibit any person required to register with the state as a sex offender from entering into, loitering around, or occupying any city-owned park, playground, cultural center, or recreational center.
The language of the proposed ordinance was based on that approved by the State Attorney General and the definitions contained in the ordinance are taken directly from Florida state statutes. The ordinance obviously does not apply to property not owned the by the city or to those individuals who are not required to register as sex offenders. Bytell, who presented the ordinance for the Council’s review, said the ordinance was made in such a way that it does not discriminate against any individuals, but instead covers the full breadth of sex offender classifications.
Taking care of old business on the agenda, the Town Council also voted unanimously to approve plans proposed by local resident Dave Palmer at last month’s meeting to open a farmer’s market and sandwich-and-coffee shop across the highway from Town Hall. The Council agreed to waive $2,150 in impact fees.
Finally, the Council voted 4-0 in favor of annexing the city’s Agriculture Center for use in future early voting. The board members also decided to connect the Paxton Post Office, immediately next door to Town Hall, to the city’s large generator so that postal services would not be disrupted in the event of power outages or natural disasters.