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Commissioners put money in budget for lake authority

On Tuesday, the Grady County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to earmark $15,000 as the budget for the newly created Grady County Lake Authority for 2014.
The money, for at the least the first year, will come from the proceeds of the $15 million bond issued to construct the lake.
County Administrator Carlos Tobar told board members this week he would include the appropriation in the 2014 operating budget under the interagency section of the budget. However, Vice Chairman T.D. David said eventually the lake authority should be set up as a department like all other county departments.
“In the future, they (the authority) would need to submit budgets like all other departments,” David said.
Initially, the authority needs a secretary/treasurer to maintain records and to post notices of meetings, according to County Attorney Kevin S. Cauley.
The county attorney said the authority is charged with planning the public amenities at the lake so that it can be utilized when construction is completed. In order to accomplish that work, he said the authority would need to work with consultants such as Wood & Partners to plan for the public facilities including a marina.
“The board could continue to budget for those costs, or you could require the authority to budget for those expenses,” Cauley said.
“No matter what you decide to do, the county will always control the purse strings over the authority and the county will always own the lake. You just need to decide how best to budget for lake expenses in the future,” Cauley said.
The attorney also noted that eventually there would be revenues from the lake that could be used to finance the operations of the authority.
Both Tobar and Cauley predicted the administrative duties of the authority could be done by a part-time person.
Commissioners Charles Norton, the county’s representative on the authority, and Elwyn Childs suggested a current county employee could be assigned the additional duties, if necessary.
However, Commissioner LaFaye Copeland disagreed and suggested the county advertise for the position and seek someone “new” and leave existing employees “where they are.”
Vice Chairman David agreed and said, “This shouldn’t be a burden on (County Clerk) Carrie (Kines) or existing staff. I agree with LaFaye, we need someone new.”
Commissioner Childs made a motion to appropriate $15,000 in the 2014 budget for the authority and to ask the authority to bring back a recommendation to the board concerning an administrative employee.
His motion passed unanimously.
In related news this week, the board:
• Received the official notification from the state for the approval of the Tired Creek Dam under the Georgia Safe Dams Program. Commissioner Norton suggested a copy of the correspondence which includes specific requirements on the dam be submitted to each lake authority member.
• Approved payment of $7,100 to McGuire Woods Consulting for professional services related to the stream bank variance litigation. Attorney Cauley said that as the project moved out of litigation and into construction, invoices such as the one from McGuire Woods and from Wm. Thomas Craig would begin to diminish rapidly before ceasing completely.
• Authorized payment of $10,543.67 to Wm. Thomas Craig for professional services. Cauley noted that Craig would likely always be the county’s liaison with the Corps of Engineers, but his office’s role in the project would greatly diminish as the construction phase proceeds.

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