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JDA and local firm settle dispute

The Grady County Joint Development Authority and one of its tenants at the Heritage Industrial Complex have reached a settlement and avoided a court battle.
Interim JDA Executive Director Tom Berry briefed members of the authority Tuesday on the agreement reached with L&L Business Associates.
L&L had filed suit against the JDA because of damages to inventory caused by a leaky roof at the former Roddenbery pickle plant facility.
Officials with the local firm met last month with the authority and offered a settlement.
According to Berry, the agreement reached with the firm was to lower their monthly lease payments from $1,800 a month to $1,200 a month for the balance of the lease, which is about $13,000 in benefits to L&L.
Also, the JDA is repairing the roof  to stop the leaks by installing a 15-year membrane roof at a cost of approximately $35,000. Berry reported at the monthly meeting of the authority Tuesday that work on the roof is currently underway.
In other business Tuesday, the authority:
Approved a payment of $5,000 toward the principal on the Heritage Industrial Complex loan.
Heard a report from Berry on accounts receivable. According to the interim director, Oneliner, another Heritage Industrial Complex tenant, paid one month’s rent, but remains two months in arrears. Berry reported that L&L is also one month past due.
Approved paying $1,000 for the creation of a JDA website to be used in marketing available industrial tracts and available commercial buildings. The chamber is also investing $1,000 to update its website.
Heard an update on the search for a new executive director. Berry said that within the next 30 days he hopes to cull the pool of applicants down to five and, at that time, interviews can be scheduled.
Learned from Berry that an international real estate firm has contacted him about property for a potential new employer. Berry identified a 10-acre and a 16-acre tract in Milestone Industrial Park and the Milestone addition. The interim executive director said he does not know what type of businesses the real estate firm is seeking property for, but noted that the authority would have the power to accept or reject the deal if the company is judged unsatisfactory. “Our goal here is to create jobs. We’re not going to sell to just anybody,” JDA Chairman Charles M. Stafford commented.

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