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Day care owner seeks longer lease

Board could vote Thursday

POSTED: September 16, 2009 4:00 a.m.

The operator of a local day care is holding out hope the Dawson County commission will vote to extend her lease Thursday.

  

Ann Mullinax, owner of Lil’ Angels Learning Academy in downtown Dawsonville, made one last plea last week to keep the center open.

  

According to the original lease/purchase agreement signed in 2007, Mullinax has until Sept. 30 to buy the building for $450,000.

  

She told commissioners she does not anticipate being able to meet that deadline.

  

“The banks have tightened their criteria to loan money and are holding so many properties at this time,” Mullinax said. “They are not loaning money as they once did.”

  

This is the second time in recent months the day care center, which opened about two years ago, has come to the commission’s attention.

  

Earlier this year, Mullinax worked with officials to settle up on about $13,000 in back rent.

  

Mullinax said she has learned from her mistakes and is confident she will able to buy the building at the end of the five years.

  

“I believe in a five-year period the economy will turn and the banking industry will be loaning money once again,” she said.

  

In a letter to the board, Mullinax suggested if the lease is extended that the $1,200 monthly rental payments go toward the building’s $450,000 price tag.

  

County Attorney Joey Homans said the board could vote to extend the lease, but in order to rewrite the lease/purchase agreement, the county would have to put the property back out to bid.

  

“Anything that has to do with the sale of the property would require a new bid,” Homans said.

  

The day care has an enrollment of 45 children ages 6 weeks to 12 years, including three with special needs, Mullinax said. Nine people would lose their jobs if the center closes. 

  

Mullinax presented the board with a petition of signatures from parents wanting to see the center remain open.

  

In addition, several families whose children are enrolled in the center attended last week’s session and are expected to return for Thursday’s meeting, which is set for 6 p.m. at city hall.

 

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