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Councilman Turnbow snaps back at Partnership


Shelbyville City Council discussed several items at Tuesday night’s study session, inclding an “exceptional” PUD and departmental purchasing items. But by far the strongest comments were in regard to recent accusations made against the City by Shane Hooper of Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership.

Under other business Tuesday during the City's study session, Councilman Bobby Turnbow didn’t mince words about Shane Hooper’s comments during last week’s County budget meeting.

While Hooper did not specifically name "The City of Shelbyville," he referred to several events-the entitity's (City’s) dissolvement with the Partnership last year and a letter sent to the Chamber/Partnership in regard to the entity's ( City’s) request for membership-all decisions made public.
During that public, County meeting, Hooper seemed really offended at the fact that the City sent the Chamber $5,000 for membership earlier this year--after leaving the Partnership. The Chamber is now a part of the Partnership.
Turnbow advised Council that he’s received since that meeting last Tuesday numerous calls from his constituents who watched the County’s YouTube recording of the meeting.
He said he’s watched the video of that meeting several times and yes, he’s gotten really mad over it. “To be honest with you, I’m tired of it. We didn’t fund them last year, so Mr. Hooper and the Partnership decided the City of Shelbyville is the absolute worst place in this world. I’ve lived here for 67 years. I’m gonna die here.”
He added, “My message to Shane Hooper and the Partnership, if you don’t like the City of Shelbyville, go back to Mississippi! I’m tired of them attacking the City of Shelbyville.”
Turnbow said Duksan is perhaps the Partnership’s best accomplishment. He said the City was not aware Duksan, as it was later known, would be a battery chemical factory. He mentioned that Councilman William Christie knows of the secrecy kept from the City, because he was sitting on the joint economic development advisory committee at the beginning of Project Cardinal/Duksan.
Turnbow mentioned David Coffey of the Partnership, who was standing behind Hooper last Tuesday during his talk before the County Commission. Coffey also briefly discussed his new Better Bedford PAC group. Commission members and the audience applauded and sang Hooper’s praises during that budget meeting in which the Partnership received $100,000 this year from the County.

Turnbow mentioned how Coffey sits on the Shelbyville Power, Water and Sewerage Board. He advised that if Coffey is that unhappy with the City of Shelbyville he should turn in his resignation to the power board.
Turnbow charged Hooper and the Partnership with “giving the industrial park away” and giving Duksan such a “deal on taxes” they’ll be out of business and moving on before the City turns around with the deal.
But what really burdened Turnbow is that Hooper took an opportunity to blast the City during a County Commission meeting. He said that stands to reason as the County had just funded the Partnership in its new fiscal year budget. That was when Hooper was asked by a commissioner to explain the Partnership.
“The County still funds them and they’re the greatest people in the world. And the City . . . the worst people in the world. And I’m not going for that.” (The City pulled out of the Partnership last year due to being uninformed on several matters involving local development on City property.)
Turnbow took Hooper’s words personal for the whole City. “Shelbyville ain’t a bad place. It ain’t perfect. But it dang sure ain’t a bad place.”
Turnbow said he’s been on Council 2 years and many good things have been developed during that time-several businesses including a new ammunition factory. He said Shelbyville City Council is moving ahead and despite what some on social media say, Council members are not just twiddling their thumbs.
Still, fact is fact. The City is charged with dealing with the Duksan safety issues-those which could potentially affect health and welfare of this community.
Turnbow stated his true feelings. “This chemical plant is the absolute worst thing that’s happened around here. But we’ve got to deal with it. It’s here, for the time being.”
Until those fire suppression issues are resolved through the state investigation, the City of Shelbyville holds Duksan’s certificate of occupancy. Workers were seen outside at Duksan last week.
The City voted during its last meeting to pay the state fire marshal’s office $50,000 to get the plant inspected after local fire professionals expressed concern over lack of water and some other fire safety issues. (The state fire marshal does not automatically investigate plants which have a chemical rating of H3 and H4, like Duksan’s application, so the City had to pay to start the process.)
Councilman Henry Feldhaus said he was going to speak more on a positive note. He said he’s tired of the social media comments, especially because they’re always a personal attack. He called much of social media talk as that around the water cooler.
Much of what is being said in regard to Duksan as a dangerous chemical plant---not true---according to Feldhaus. He explained how Duksan is not a potentially ticking “time bomb” as questioned by one Council person that night. He said that is why the state has not jumped as quickly on board with any investigations.
More on Feldhaus’ comments and those of other City Council members in next week’s T-G.
The T-G will also discuss the PUD proposal which met with a favorable vote from the Planning Commission, and is on the agenda for the Thursday, July 11, meeting at 6 p.m.