Arcadia Metalcraft addressed the City Council during open forum on November 21. Al Dimmitt was present to represent Arcadia. Dimmitt requested the council approve a payment plan different than the current policy which would allow Arcadia to enter into a weekly payment schedule of $20,000 per week for 60 days, then revisit the plan at that time. Arcadia’s current utility bill of $236,510.52 was due on November 25.
Dimmitt reported the company was in financial hardship since the General Motors strike, stating, “The strike has created a very tough situation for us.” Although multiple former employees have voiced the company’s hardships are not related to the strike. Dimmitt stated, “One of our major customers aren’t buying right now and since the strike, Arcadia has a lot of inventory on hand and a lot of outstanding account receivables.”
Arcadia expected their utility usage to be cut in half of their normal usage, which averages to be $130,000 per month. Dimmitt stated, “We have been reading our meters to keep an eye on our usage to try to determine a reasonable bill.”
Arcadia Metalcraft was currently operating in the Monroe City Plant location only, with approximately 35 employees. Previously the company employed 90 employees prior to falling into hard times.
Dimmit shared with the council, stating, “We have picked up a couple of new jobs that are starting now, and expect those to pick up in the next few months. We have skeleton crews in each building of the Monroe City property,” adding, “There are a lot of receivables outstanding and we are trying to get those collected, but it is not easy with the strike. Everything is backed up 60-90-120 days.”
Alderman Melissa Hays expressed her concern of shutting off their utilities, stating, “Shutting the utilities off will shut their doors and the City will receive no money at all. I believe it’s in our best interest to try and work with Arcadia.” Alderman Jeremy Moss expressed his view stating, “There are other variables involved in a 60-day forecast. We have no way of knowing, besides what you are telling us. This is a very uncomfortable place for the City and Arcadia. If the 60-day forecast is not met, the City takes on additional debt.”
Jerry Potterfield questioned Mr. Dimmitt on Arcadia’s line of credit, stating, “This is a very unfortunate situation that Arcadia has gotten into. It is not the City’s responsibility to carry the company with extensions and plans, Arcadia should secure a line of credit with a financial institution,” as Potterfield asked Dimmitt, “Has Arcadia wasted their entire line of credit?” Alderman Hays stated, “I think exhausted would be the better word, Mr. Potterfield.” Potterfield replied stating, “It may be hoped to have money in 30-60-90 days down the road, but this could quickly turn into six months.” Dimmitt responded stating, “We do have a line of credit.”
Next, Alderman Hays made a motion for the City to enter into a payment plan with Arcadia in order for them to get caught up on their utility bills. Alderman Moss stated, “If this were to pass, there is a huge risk that if it does not work out as anticipated the City will carry the unpaid bill. I mean no disrespect to Arcadia or you, Mr. Dimmitt.” Mayor John Long shared, “There has been a lot of risk with all that has been done, those who have started a business have taken a risk. I feel we could re-evaluate this after one month to see where things are at.” Dimmitt stated, “It is in our best interest to clear things up as fast as possible. The 5 percent penalty on the utility bill is costly.”
After a lengthy discussion, Attorney Michael Williams reminded the council approving this would be going against policy. Alderman Moss added, “If this passed, a precedent would be set,” asking if the Council would be willing to do this for all businesses. Alderman Hays shared, “I feel the City should work with them,” answering Moss’ questioning, stating, “It would depend on the circumstances.” Attorney Williams stated, “There will always be special circumstances if a business is coming to the council to request a payment plan.”
Mayor Long spoke to the council stating, “In trueness, we must do something for the industry of Monroe City. I am not making excuses for Arcadia and maybe they should have looked at something different. There are around 40 employees and we need to make sure there is some sort of industry in this town. There is a motion on the table, does anyone want to second it?”
The motion died due to lack of a second. Dimmitt replied to Mayor John Longs question, “Al, where do we go from here?” Dimmitt stated, “Shut the lights out I guess,” and exited the meeting.