UPDATED: Local Officials Shocked, Disappointed as Select Energy Abandons Carroll County Plans

UPDATE #2:  The Times Reporter has now reported on this situation as well, with further details.  Here is an excerpt:

"We were working with you up to the week before,” Commissioner Tom Wheaton on Wednesday told Scott Theeringer, president of Mages Real Estate, based in Dallas-Fort Worth. “We didn't know they (Select Energy Services) were talking to Tuscarawas County at the same time they were talking to us.”
Select Energy announced its plans for Carroll County in January, but had not signed a purchase agreement for 30 acres in the commerce park. It did hold a local job fair for potential employees, however, which drew hundreds of job-seekers.
“We have looked at Select Energy as the anchor to help support the growth of Commerce Park,” said Jeff Ohler, president of the county board of commissioners. “We looked for them to help support the sewer line expansion project. We had $800,000 on the line.”
The company did not give a reason for its decision to drop plans in Carroll County.
After months of negotiating, Select Energy agreed to build a facility on land located between the Golden Age Retreat and the county home cemetery on the east side of State Route 9.
Wheaton said the county had spent money right up until the last meeting.
“The grants are gone. That's over $700,000,” he said. “I am very disappointed. There is nothing else to come that I can see.
Commissioners had worked with Select Energy and Mages to acquire more than $700,000 in grants from the state of Ohio and the Governor's Office of Appalachia to upgrade the sewer plant at the Golden Age Retreat.
Grants had been approved for the project, as well as a low-interest loan from the Ohio Water Development Authority to cover the rest of the cost to upgrade sewers.
"The market has changed since this project started,” Theeringer explained, referring to a drop in natural gas prices. “Select is doing what's best in the interests of Select.”

Read the rest of that article here.

5/21/12 UPDATE:  We have reached out to Select Energy for comment on this matter, but have yet to receive any response.  We will update here if any statement is received.

Original post from 05/20/2012:

From the Free Press Standard comes a report on Select Energy Services backing out of plans to build a facility in the Carroll County Commerce Park, located on the east side of Route 9 near the the Golden Age Retreat (previously reported on in this blog here and here).

On May 14 Carroll County Economic Development Director Gleen Enslen was notified by officials from Mages Real Estate LLC, the Texas firm contracted to develop the Commerce Park, that Select Energy was pulling out of the deal.

"This is like being kicked in the gut," Enslen said.  "We are devastated.  This project was rolling right along and then boom, all at once someone pulls the plug on you.  We jumped through a million hoops for this company and then we hear they are not coming to Carroll County."

Much effort was expended by county commissioners in preparation for the Commerce Park, and Select Energy was set to be the "anchor customer," according to the FPS.  These efforts included applying for $700,000 in grant funds from the state of Ohio and the Governor's Office of Appalachia for sewer plant upgrades at the Golden Age Retreat, a low-interest loan from the Ohio Water Development Authority to cover further sewer upgrade costs, and negotiating a Tax Incentive Financing (TIF) agreement with the Carrollton Exempted Village School District.

Jeff Ohler, Carroll County Commissioner President, said that Select Energy officials were actively involved in the grant application process.

"The Community Development Block Grant was based on the number of jobs to be created by [Select Energy].  They filled out the necessary paperwork for the grant and had committed to spending $12 million to develop the property."

Ohler also noted that although Select had made a commitment to locate in Carroll County and held a job fair which hundreds of people attended, there was no written purchase agreement for the 30 acres that county officials were expecting the company to purchase.

Charles Sangu, northeast regional vice president for Select Energy, had no comment for the FPS when asked about the report that they were pulling out of the deal.  Mages officials told Enslen that Select Energy has decided to locate in Tuscarawas County.

The grants will be forfeited.    Commissioners are planning to meet with Prosecuting Attorney Donald Burns to discuss the matter.

I don't know a lot about these sorts of matters, and I don't claim to.  However, it just seems to me that before jumping through all of these hoops and incurring great expenses to prepare for a project of this nature which is contingent upon the participation of a certain party, it might be wise to have a written agreement with said party.

Read the entire article from the FPS here.

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