Local News

Story published: 02-12-2013 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

County working on PAC agreement with Johnson City

By Karen Sells
Assistant Editor

In another attempt to reach an agreement with the City of Johnson City on the use of the Princeton Arts Center, Mayor Dan Eldridge recently mailed a proposed lease agreement to City Manager Pete Peterson.

No response had been received as of the Feb. 6 meeting of the County-Owned Property Committee whose members directed Eldridge to take the action last month.

“There may be a perception that the county is trying to take (PAC) away, and there needs to be some kind of closure brought to all of this,” Eldridge said during the meeting.

Though no objection to the city’s continued use of the building has been expressed by county commissioners, Eldridge said a defined arrangement should be established.

“We have been in more than one situation where lack of a formal agreement has come back to bite us,” he said. “This needs to be part of our procedures.”

The proposed one-year lease reiterates the terms of the 1976 lease, which states the city, as the lessee, is responsible for maintenance of the building.

While the original lease included an annual rent payment of $1, the proposed agreement states: The consideration for this lease is not a rental payment; rather, the lessee hereby agrees to insure the building for liability to the limits of the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act and casualty for the replacement value of the structure, making the lessor an additional insured. Proof of coverage shall be provided to lessor upon commencement of the lease. If proof of coverage is not provided, lessee will reimburse lessor for its costs in obtaining liability and casualty coverage for the premises and building.

As the owner, Washington County has insured the building at 2516 E. Oakland Ave., but concerns have been expressed regarding the county’s exposure to liability claims from the programs offered by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.

In his cover letter, Eldridge refers to the city as a tenant whose occupancy is on a month-to-month basis with the obligations of each party under the original lease still controlling.

Eldridge requests Peterson assess a reported roof maintenance need and implement necessary repairs or replacement as quickly as possible.

“It looks like the ball is in the city’s court,” Commissioner Mark Ferguson said.

Commissioner George “Skip” Oldham suggested the commissioners serving city districts approach the Johnson City commissioners about the long-term intentions of the city regarding its use of the building.