The Harlan County Industrial Development Authority voted to cut the rent of a Lynch business in half in an attempt to help avoid layoffs.
Authority Chairman Harry Gibson explained to the panel the cut is needed to keep jobs at Hurberries, Inc.
“Each month since I’ve been here… Hurberries has religiously paid the obligation on the park up at Lynch, that being $4,000 per month,” Gibson said. “When it came up this month, (they) called and wanted to meet with me.”
Gibson said he met with a representative of the company, who explained the request for a reduction in rent.
“This business is tied into the coal business, and everybody knows where that’s at,” Gibson said.
According to Gibson, the business is operating in the red, and would probably require a reduction in the work force at Lynch.
Gibson said other options were discussed.
“We sat down and came to the idea if they could get the rent lowered from $4,000 per month to $2,000 a month, they could make it through without having to lay off anybody,” Gibson said. “I think the jobs and those people’s employment is more valuable to this county than the $2,000 a month is to the IDA.”
Gibson said the company has paid the rent without fail.
“I personally feel we can live with a reduction in rent a lot better than somebody can live with losing their job,” Gibson said. “If we have to make a choice, that’s what I suggest.”
Gibson suggested dropping the rent for a period of six months, then returning to the original rate.
“This has happened before,” Gibson said. “If we don’t work with them, and if (Hurberries) were to pull out, not only would we lose the entire rent, but we would also be stuck with the loss of jobs and we would have to secure the building. I believe we should consider working with these people.”
Authority member Clark Bailey made a motion to lower the rent on the Hurberries property to $2,000 until January. The motion passed with no opposition.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-909-4132 or on Twitter @joe_hde.