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Commissioners want to talk to Stafford before renewing JDA loan

Before renewing a loan for $594,158.94, members of the Grady County Board of Commissioners want the chairman of the Grady County Joint Development Authority to attend a county commission meeting next month to discuss the loan.
The county in March 2010 loaned the JDA $588,276.18 to be used to pay down on the debt owed by the JDA on the former Higdon Furniture Company facility on Wight Road.
Since that time the JDA has made a single payment of $30,324.25, which was paid last March.
The total balance of the loan due to Grady County now stands at $594,158.94.
Grady County Attorney Kevin S. Cauley prepared the required documents to renew the loan if both the commission and JDA agree to terms.
“Do we want to renew it?” Commission Chairman Billy Poitevint asked Tuesday night. He noted that during the JDA monthly meeting, which was also held Tuesday, the authority was preparing to invest $250,000 into a certificate of deposit.
“We’ve had this loan with them for three years and the way I read it is if they have money down there this debt owed to the county shall have priority over any other unsecured debts of the authority. That means they pay us first,” Commissioner Charles Norton said.
Commissioner Elwyn Childs suggested the loan renewal until JDA representatives could come in and explain the authority’s finances and allow for commissioners to question them.
The board instructed County Clerk Carrie Kines to invite JDA Chairman Charles M. Stafford to attend the April 16 commission meeting to discuss the loan and possible renewal.
Commissioner LaFaye Copeland asked if a delay would cause issues for the county, but the county attorney advised that delaying renewal after the due date would not jeopardize the county’s right to collect on the loan.
“Some conversation back and forth would probably be beneficial for everybody,” Cauley said.
Vice Chairman T.D. David suggested Kines inform JDA Chairman Stafford what the meeting would be about so that he would be prepared to discuss the loan with members of the commission.
“If they’ve got extra cabbage out there we need to have something paid back. We need the money,” Commissioner Norton said.

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