The Dawson County commission has given a local day care operator 30 days to catch up on months of back rent before it evicts the center from the county-owned building it occupies.
And if she settles up on rent, Ann Mullinax then has until Sept. 30 to close on the Academy Avenue property, per a previous lease/purchase agreement with the county.
Mullinax has run Lil’ Angels Learning Academy in downtown Dawsonville since October 2007. She is nearly one year, or more than $12,000, behind in rent.
County Manager Kevin Tanner presented the arrangement to the commission on Thursday. The measure passed 3-1, with Mike Connor opposed.
“We believe that this agreement gives her (Mullinax), as well as the families involved, fair notice should the need arise to make other arrangements,” Tanner said.
Mullinax, who said her business has “been hit pretty hard” by the economy, was grateful for the chance to continue.
“I am very appreciative of Mr. Tanner and the board for considering giving me a chance to catch up,” Mullinax said. “We strive to give a good environment for the children here, and we would like to continue to do so.”
Tanner said the original agreement with Mullinax set rent at $1,200 per month and gave her the option of buying the building for about $450,000 by Sept. 30.
Thursday’s proposal gives her the opportunity to pay off the debt, as well as buy the building as the contract outlines.
Tanner said Mullinax will have to leave if she is not able to catch up on rent in 30 days or has not closed on the property by Sept. 30.
The county can then use the building, which formerly housed a county-run day care, for other purposes.
“I do feel sorry for the situation, but the county taxpayers own the building, and in good conscience, we can’t allow someone to stay in a place rent free that is owned by the taxpayers,” Tanner said. “The county still understands the need of day care facilities, and we are doing all we can to work with them.”
He told the board that Lil’ Angels can accommodate children from ages 6 weeks to 12 years. Cost per child ranges from $120 to $135 a week, with 37 children currently enrolled.
E-mail Elizabeth Hamilton at email@example.com.