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Burns steps up to fill void at JDA

The Grady County Joint Development Authority held its first meeting since the resignation of its executive director Tuesday.
JDA Vice Chairman Robbie Burns has stepped in to handle the duties of the executive director and this week he was praised by JDA Chairman Charles M. Stafford for his extra effort.
“Robbie has really gone the extra mile and is helping out a lot. He has really done a fantastic job during this transition,” Chairman Stafford said.
Chadd Mathis resigned as the JDA executive director on March 3.
In the interim, Burns has been in contact with prospective new businesses and has been in contact with the companies and individuals who are tenants of the JDA.
Burns has collected and deposited the monthly lease payments and reported this week that all tenants are up-to-date on rental payments.
The vice chairman also put together an agenda for this week’s meeting and prepared the minutes of the Feb. authority meeting for the authority’s approval.
Burns solicited estimates from GFA Design-Build Contractors of Cairo to make repairs to the roof at the former Higdon Furniture Company facility on Wight Road, which is being leased by Woodhaven Furniture Industries.
Zane Mirick of GFA projected the needed repairs to correct the leaking roof would cost between $1,200 to $2,000.
“Woodhaven is an exceptional tenant and we definitely need to get that roof fixed,” Chairman Stafford said.
The authority voted unanimously to hire GFA to perform the repairs.
Burns also consulted with GFA to install insulation in a section of the Heritage Industrial Complex that is being rented by Big Bend Agri-Services.  The JDA vice chairman said Big Bend officials have complained about the temperature inside the facility and the hope that the installation of insulation will reduce the temperature inside during hot weather.
Burns said that the roof over the section of the former Roddenbery pickle plant being leased by Big Bend continues to be plagued by roof leaks. The vice chairman said it was an issue that needed to be addressed. Previous attempts to repair the roof have been unsuccessful.
“When I was there there are about six different spots where it was wet. It is full of chemicals and they have to move it around to try and keep it from getting wet,” Burns said.
No decision was made regarding the roof repairs at the Heritage complex but the authority voted unanimously to pay $4,510 to GFA for the insulation installation for the 110-foot long, six-foot high wall.
During the March meeting, the authority also heard a review of its insurance coverage from Chuck Thomas, a local insurance agent and former member of the authority. Thomas reviewed the authority’s insurance coverage and made suggestions for additional coverage.
JDA member Charles Davis requested Thomas submit a bid on additional umbrella coverage for the authority and present the estimates at the April meeting. Thomas said an additional $1 million or $2 million in coverage would not be expensive.
The authority discussed and accepted the recommendation of Chairman Stafford that the authority should share in the costs of the temporary staff that is manning the chamber until permanent replacements for the resigned JDA and Cairo-Grady County Chamber of Commerce staff can be hired. Morgan Blough and Danny Hendrix are currently manning the chamber office weekdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Before adjourning, the authority went behind closed doors to discuss real estate and litigation with JDA attorney Thomas L. Lehman.

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