Council closes deal with Tupelo Auto Museum

BY LENA MITCHELL
Daily Journal

In a special called meeting Friday, Tupelo City Council voted to buy the Tupelo Automobile Museum building, paying $3.25 million of the museum's construction cost of $3,368,747.05.

The payment closes an agreement Tupelo Redevelopment Authority made to purchase the facility from funds raised in a 1999 $22.67 bond issue and lease it back to the museum nonprofit group founded by Frank Spain.

The Tupelo Automobile Museum Foundation, a tax-exempt organization, will repurchase the museum over a 20-year period with two payments a year.

It will make the first lease payment of $185,012.50 on June 5. The second payment for 2003, $107,473.75, will be due Dec. 5, according to an established amortization schedule.

During the museum's December 2002 opening, Mayor Larry Otis told the Daily Journal the city got a good deal.

“The city's position is that we believe we have an excellent product, the collection's going to stay here, the revenue that's collected pays the lease payments and the city does not put any money into the project,” Otis said. “The debt will be retired by the revenue and the city holds as collateral a portion of the collection.”

Tupelo solid waste

Addressing the only other item on the agenda for the special meeting, the Council voted to table discussion of bids for the city's solid waste disposal to give the administration time to evaluate the four proposals.

“We're preparing our analysis and recommendation,” Otis said. “We want to give it to you in an understandable format where you can look at all of them and understand them. I think we have a unique opportunity to lower residential rates with the competitive environment. We need to be able to impact commercial and industrial cost at the same time. We will have those for you (at a called work session) Tuesday.”