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District 1 Grady County commission candidate Richard Jordan spoke out at Tuesday’s board of commissioners’ meeting to oppose a “middle man” being involved in the proposed refinancing of the 2010 revenue bonds issued for the construction of the Tired Creek Lake dam.
Richard Jordan, who is challenging incumbent June Knight in next week’s republican primary, told commissioners he had attended the meeting Monday morning between the Grady County Lake Authority and representatives of Davenport & Company.
Jordan said he was surprised that when asked the Davenport officials would not give the authority an exact cost of their fees.
“You don’t need a middle man,” Jordan said. He said that if the county spent $75,000 up to $100,000 to save $10,000 or $15,000 the savings did not justify the cost. Jordan said the Grady County Board of Education had completed a number of bond transactions without a financial advisor and he noted the school system had utilized the services of Raymond James, just as the county had in 2010 and 2015, without complaints.
“You have Chip Wells on the authority, he is a knowledgeable banker, and he can sniff out if any fees are out of line. Don’t be led around, do your own research,” Jordan told commissioners.
Grady County administrator, J.C. (Buddy) Johnson III, challenged Jordan on some of his assertions, but Jordan pushed back and warned commissioners not to be fooled when they are told Davenport is not charging for their services. Jordan said the county would not actually write a check to Davenport & Company, but that they would receive their compensation out of the savings the county realizes by refinancing the bonds. “There is no such thing as a free lunch,” Jordan said.
Johnson asked Jordan why he had not shared his thoughts with the authority at its meeting Monday. Jordan said he could not because public participation is held at the beginning of the meetings and not at the end.
Johnson said the county had made Davenport available to the authority, but it was ultimately their decision whether to utilize their services or not. Jordan questioned that and said that the final decision is up to the county commission. “The authority can recommend whatever they want, but this board makes the final decision,” Jordan said.
The county administrator said that the authority had met with Davenport officials Monday and were considering their options, but whatever recommendation the authority made that would be the approach Johnson would recommend the county commission take.
“I just want it clear to the public that it is not quite as cut and dried as Mr. Jordan says it is. He is throwing numbers out there and nothing to back them up with. It’s just estimates he is making up in his head,” Johnson said.
According to the county administrator, Davenport & Company cannot provide the county with the cost of their services until the authority makes a decision on which approach to take to refinancing the debt.