County to close Rentech deal by end of year

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A date is now attached to closing the Rentech deal, county officials said Tuesday.

The board of supervisors voted in an executive session Monday to enter into agreements with Rentech and International Paper, board attorney Bob Latham said Tuesday.

The county plans to buy the IP site and sell a majority of it to Rentech, a Colorado-based coal-to-liquid company.

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The IP land will be divided into two tracts, Latham said.

One tract will go to the St. Catherine Creek Utility Authority, a newly formed board that will contract out the management of the water and sewer treatment plants on the site.

“The balance of the property, about 400 acres, will go to Adams County,” Latham said. “Adams County will either deed or lease that property to Rentech.”

The reason the county is in the equation at all is because Rentech wanted the option to lease the property, Latham said.

“Some (financial) incentives from the state require the property be owned by a public entity,” Latham said. “If it wasn’t for the lease provisions, we would probably have a situation where we would have a direct sale.”

The attorney said he could not divulge the terms of the contract.

“I can tell you we have a closing date set for Dec. 1,” he said. “The county and the utility have until Oct. 1 to commit to the final purchase.”

The county’s purchase of the IP property and the sale to Rentech will all happen on the same day — Dec.1, Latham said.

The building that houses the county extension service will remain in county hands, Latham said.

Monday’s vote was 3-2, with supervisors Henry Watts and S.E. “Spanky” Felter voting against the motion. Both said they hadn’t had enough time to read through the contracts.

“One document I hadn’t seen at all,” Watts said after Monday’s meeting. “I made a motion we table it until everyone had read it. Spanky seconded it, but it failed 3-2.”

Felter said he didn’t feel comfortable with voting for something he had not read.

“That’s not how I do business,” Felter said.

In recent months, Rentech expressed interest in buying the IP site instead of the Belwood Country Club site, for which it had previously made plans.

The IP site would provide more space if the company decided to expand its operations, representatives said at the time.