Albany County Commissioners and the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance signed a deal this week that will have LCBA’s handle business affairs of certain county properties for five years in lieu of LCBA reimbursing the county for $100,000 loan that was given to Laramie Economic Development Commission.
The county lent LEDC $100,000 in 2012 for the now-defunct group to develop a trans-modal freight delivery site at an unused rail spur south of town.
Albany County Attorney Peggy Trent said Tuesday that loan “probably should not have occurred.”
“We aren’t allowed to give loans of government moneys under the constitution,” she said.
LEDC merged with the Laramie Area Chamber of Commerce in 2014 to form LCBA.
Under the original agreement between LEDC and Albany County, LEDC was originally supposed to start paying back the loan with interest within 10 years beginning on Feb. 1, 2017.
Under the new agreement with LCBA, the $100,000 as the business group becomes responsible for providing, for a period of five years, “tenant management and economic development services, including day-to-day management, marketing and economic development activities” for the Warren Sports Complex/Bill Hixenbaugh Baseball Fields, as well as the county property at 3821 Beech Street and the Turner Tract project adjacent to the Beech Street property.
Before the deal was signed, Albany County grants manager Tai Wright had been handling some of the day-to-day oversight of those properties.
Under the new deal, LCBA director Brad Enzi will handle “middle-of-the-night calls” for issues like triggered fire alarms and water leaks.
LCBA will also screen and select tenants for county properties, and the 11 page agreement details other efforts LCBA is responsible for with regard to marketing and management.
“What’s interesting is that we’ve had an informal relationship with the (Laramie) Chamber Business Alliance, and the city has a formal one, and so this gives us a framework to have a more productive, legally-formalized relationship,” Commissioner Heber Richardson said. “That’s not to say this is the way it will stay. This is the first stab at it.”
Enzi told the commissioners the agreement “gives good checkpoints for accountability over time.”
Under the agreement, the county will also release its mortgage on LCBA’s 1.67-acre property at the Laramie Rivers Business Park.