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Monds seeks answers to variety of questions regarding lake project

The chairman of the Libertarian Party of Grady County appeared before the Grady County Commission Tuesday night seeking answers to a number of questions concerning the Tired Creek Lake project.
According to Grady County Clerk Carrie Kines, John Monds told county officials he was making the presentation as an individual and not as a speaker of the Libertarian Party’s views, but in a printed list of questions he submitted to commissioners he identified himself as the Libertarian Party of Grady County’s chairman.
Monds offered county commissioners a list of 16 questions concerning the lake project ranging from issues about mitigation to questions of conflicts of interest.
Commission Chairman LaFaye Copeland recognized Monds, but noted that although County Administrator Carlos Tobar had included him under the petitions and presentations section of the agenda he should have been made part of public comment.
“I will allow you to speak. I know you have questions, but we will not get to all of these today. Our agenda is set so that we have time to do business,” Chairman Copeland said.
Monds said that had he not been included under the agenda’s petitions and presentations section there would not have been any interaction with the commission.
Monds told commissioners he had many questions regarding the lake, and instead of listening to rumor he was seeking answers in a public forum.
“It’s the best way to get more information out to the public,” Monds said.
The political party head said the “bulk” of  his questions related to issues raised by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about the county’s mitigation plan, which is part of the federal 404 permit for construction of the lake.
Since last December, the county has been aware of issues raised by Corps officials regarding alleged deviations from the mitigation plan submitted by the county to and approved by the Corps.
Monds said based on information he had heard in meetings he had attended and newspaper accounts he had read, the issues with the mitigation work were a result of heavy rains, which caused significant erosion at the sites.
“If there was deviation from the approved plans, who was responsible?” Monds asked.
The party chairman asked what would be the best time or format for such a discussion of the questions he was raising.
Dr. Jeff Bivins, who was also in attendance, spoke out, “There is no time like the present.”
Chairman Copeland warned Bivins he was out of order and Monds motioned to Bivins that he had the floor.
The county commission chairman asked County Attorney Kevin S. Cauley how Monds’ request should be handled.
Cauley said he had only just been handed a copy of the questions and that many of the issues were sensitive in nature.
Grady County Commissioner Ray Prince told Monds that until the county’s consultants could meet with the Corps to discuss the alleged deviations, many of his questions could not be answered.
Grady County Commission Vice Chairman Charles Norton concurred with Prince and also stated, “When you are dealing with the Corps, you’re dealing with time and it’s not our time. I hate to say it, but the federal government doesn’t move fast.”
“This is not a witch hunt. We just want to know what is going on,” Monds said.
Until the county resolves the Corps’ concerns regarding the mitigation plan, it will not be permitted to impound water at the 960-acre lake.
Chairman Copeland closed by telling Monds they would discuss the matter and contact him later.

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