Mathis outlines plan to pay back JDA loan

Grady County Joint Development Authority Executive Director Chadd Mathis unveiled a proposed plan to begin making monthly payments to Grady County to pay down a loan the county commission made to the JDA in March 2010. That loan was used to help pay down the debt owed by the JDA on the former Higdon Furniture Company facility on Wight Road.
The original loan amount was $588,276.16, but the authority has paid it down to $465,336.18. The JDA’s note with the county matured on May 7.
Development authority officials at their May meeting discussed renewing the loan and planned to begin paying down on the loan in September 2015 when a REDLEG loan obtained through Grady Electric Membership Corporation is paid off.
However, on Monday, Mathis said a proposal to begin making monthly payments this August was agreed to.
Mathis shared the proposal with commissioners Tuesday. According to the proposed payment plan, the JDA will pay $2,500 per month from Aug. 1, 2014, until July 1, 2015, then on Aug. 1, 2015, the monthly payment would increase to $2,800 per month. On Oct. 1, 2015, once the REDLEG loan is paid off, the monthly payment increases to $6,600 per month and on Aug. 1, 2016, the payment would jump to $7,000 per month.
According to Mathis, a newly negotiated lease with Woodhaven Industries, which is leasing the former Higdon facility, is generating the cash flow to back the payment plan.
Grady County Attorney Kevin S. Cauley told board members he could draft a loan based on the proposed payment plan and the issue would not have to be revisited for three years, rather than annually.
Mathis said the JDA would also be paying the city of Cairo the $102,440 the authority owes the city.
“At least this is a promise to pay. This note has been in effect for four years and for two years we basically got nothing back until we turned up the heat and started asking for some payment,” Commissioner Charles Norton said.
According to Mathis, the JDA will ratify the payment proposal at its June meeting and the county commission is expected to approve the loan renewal based on the proposed payment plan at its next meeting on June 17.

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