Marked Tree mayor vetoes council vote on rail spur contract

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A special meeting of the Marked Tree City Council was called on Monday, Oct. 20, to discuss a contract with Joey McCorkle for the right to use the Awesome Products rail spur for a future grain shipping business. Discussion regarding the contract has been going on since August when a committee consisting of aldermen Michael Scott, Cleo Johnson, Jr., and Danny Johnson was set up to work out a contract with McCorkle.

At the regular October meeting on Oct. 13, a contract written up by City Attorney Jobi Teague was brought before the council, but the matter was tabled to give McCorkle time to review it and make changes.

A week later, on Oct. 20, the council met again and voted to accept a revised version of the contract with a vote of 5-2. Cleo Johnson, Jr., and Gail Nichols voted against accepting the contract, and Mary Smith abstained from voting.

The original contract allowed McCorkle access to the rail spur for a term of five years at a rate of $60,000 a year. It did not allow for McCorkle to sublet the rail spur and required a payment of $100 per rail car for every rail car loaded by McCorkle in excess of 300 rail cars per year.

The revised contract the council approved gave McCorkle access to the rail spur for ten years at a rate of $5,000 per year. This contract gave McCorkle the ability to sublet the spur and required he pay $10 per rail car for every rail car he loaded in excess of 750 rail cars.

On Friday, Oct. 24, Mayor Mary Ann Arnold vetoed the vote. According to state law, the mayor has to power to veto a decision made by the council within five days. The mayor then has until the next regular council meeting to lay out the reasons for the veto in a written statement. After the written statement is laid before the council, the council can override the veto with a two-thirds vote.

The next regular council meeting is Monday, Nov. 10, at 6 p.m.

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