The Greenbank Firehouse Deal may go deeper than we originally supposed and it may have little or nothing to do with fires.
It may have everything to do with the wrecker business!
You say that is bizarre but consider that the wrecker business is big money for people who have a wrecker. Now we won't name names but there are two wrecker businesses in the upper end and they are fiercely competitive.
If one person can get to a car wreck first they just might get to tow a vehicle. What better way to get the business that to be involved with the fire department. You have a scanner and are connected to 911.
But more so what if wrecker business had a leading role in a fire company. It would behoove them to ensure that the competitor's wrecker business didn't get any business. This may well be the case in the upper end of Pocahontas County.
When the GMS dealership went out of business, the franchise was sold to an outside business which didn't intend to put a dealership back, most likely to ensure that a competitor wouldn't start a franchise back up. And it worked!
What if wrecker business #1 figured that wrecker business #2 might just buy the dealership property and thereby move their wrecker business farther from Durbin and closer to Greenbank?
How do you stop that? Easy enough! You have the fire department you volunteer for to buy the dealership property. This will keep wrecker #2 from buying the property and setting up a competing business in a different location.
For purposes of discussion, let's say that the dealership owner is asking $290,000 and wrecker #2 offers to pay $250,000 for the property. Wrecker business #1 finds a way to "buy" the dealership property but uses the fire department at Durbin to actually purchase the property.
Since the fire department is a nonprofit entity the fire department can provide a $100,000 tax credit to the owners. This brings the actual price down to $190,000. That means that the owners get the equivalent of a $290,000 payment (includes tax break)
The Durbin fire department buys the dealership for $190,000. Wrecker business #2 loses its offer of $250,000 and Wrecker business #1 which is connected to the Durbin fire department gets control of the property which precludes Wrecker business #2 from buying the property.
Now remember that we think the goal is to prevent Wrecker business #2 from competing with Wrecker Business #1.