Commission is split on pushing forward to seek developers for lake project

After months of pushing for something to be done and to put the Tired Creek Lake development out to potential developers, Grady County Commission Chairman Ray Prince was one of two votes against moving forward with a Request for Qualifications to be used in soliciting proposals from interested developers.
Prince and Commissioner June Knight voted against giving the RFQ recommended by the county attorney, Grady County Lake Authority and consultant William F. Butler tentative approval on Tuesday.
Butler said there were some minor issues to be ironed out and some logistics to be worked out, but otherwise he “feels good about where we are.”
The lake authority’s consultant wanted to make sure that once the RFQ is advertised the ground rules are in place and that all developers are provided the same information and no one is unintentionally provided an advantage over someone else.
Butler is also eager to meet with the new authority members, Eric Cohen and Steven Childs.
Vice Chairman T.D. David said that nothing substantial was going to change from the version submitted to the commission last week and he recommended its approval.
Commissioner Knight suggested waiting to hear feedback from other local officials at the upcoming community retreat being hosted by Archway.
“Why not wait a few more days and talk to all of them. We are not the only ones considered in this whole thing,” she added.
Vice Chairman David agreed that the county should be in a position to update the retreat participants about the status of the RFQ, but questioned what feedback would be given that would warrant making changes to the RFQ.
Commissioner LaFaye Copeland also questioned the need to involve additional people in making a decision about a document that had been developed and recommended by the lake authority and presented to the county commission for its approval.
“If you get a whole lot of people involved it can get out of hand,” Commissioner Copeland warned.
Chairman Prince weighed in with Knight and suggested delaying. He also said he had issues with signing off on something that was not completely finalized. The commission chairman said he did not anticipate any major changes to the proposed document, but suggested waiting to vote on approving it.
Butler noted that the commission would have the final approval before the document was advertised and that if additional revisions as a result of next week’s retreat were warranted then those ideas could be incorporated into the final document.
Commissioner Keith Moye said it would be good to hear comments from the other local elected officials and Butler said while the input regarding the lake project would be valuable he doubted it would have much value to drafting the RFQ.
The authority’s consultant said with a vote of confidence he could continue moving toward putting the document out to developers and not delay progress.
“We won’t publish until y’all are okay,” Butler repeated.
Butler said he had heard the commissioners loud and clear that the interest clock is ticking and he was focused on engaging in discussion with developers who would return some money to the county to help fund the debt.
Vice Chairman David, Commissioners Copeland and Moye voted to approve the RFQ pending final revisions and to adopt the lake regulations as recommended by the lake authority.
Prince and Knight voted against.
It was unclear if the commission vice chairman’s motion included adoption of the regulations, but Chairman Prince said that the vote was for both items and no one questioned him.
In other business Tuesday, the commission:
Heard public comment from Eddie Stuckey regarding the condition of county roads and county road signs that allegedly violated state regulations. The board also heard comments from Charles Renaud who questioned why the search for a new administrator was taking so long prompting Vice Chairman David to predict a new administrator would be hired within two months.
Heard annual reports from County Fire Chief/EMA Director Richard Phillips and Shop Superintendent Chris Dix.
Approved the purchase of a new 5-ton air conditioning unit to replace one at the Barber Park baseball complex at a low bid of $3,960 from Carter-Wilkes. Other bids received were $4,875 from General Heating & Air and $8,800 from Mills Heating & Air.

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