RRDA considers offer on Ball Ground Recycling site
by Joshua Sharpe
February 08, 2014 04:00 AM | 2502 views | 2 2 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CANTON — Cherokee County is considering an offer for an undisclosed amount from a potential buyer for the Ball Ground Recycling property —although the deal might still leave county taxpayers in the red.

The Cherokee Resource Recovery Development Authority held a called meeting Friday afternoon to consider an offer from Sugar Hill-based Cowart Mulch Products for the property formerly run by Jimmy Bobo, but no decision was made to accept or deny the proposal.

RRDA Chairman Jeff Duncan said board member John Konop and County Manager Jerry Cooper would be working together on some of the points of the agreement before a decision would be reached. The RRDA must recommend approval or denial to the Board of Commissioners, which would make the final call.

After the meeting Friday, which included nearly two hours of a closed, private session, Cooper said he didn’t feel comfortable commenting on any of the terms of the proposal, or even confirming who made it.

Konop, however, said Cowart Mulch had made the offer and that it would not fully cover Cherokee County’s loss in the controversial deal with Bobo to relocate his now-defunct operation to its final site on Highway 5.

The Board of Commissioners created the RRDA, originally populated by the five county commissioners, in 2006 to guarantee debt on $18 million in bonds to move Bobo’s business from its former site on Blalock Road. In 2012, taxpayers got stuck with the bill for $100,000 a month in payments after the company shut down.

Konop said the RRDA received information from county attorneys during the closed session raising issues about who has the authority to obligate the bonds.

Cowart Mulch owner Chris Cowart also declined to go into detail about the proposal for fear of breaking a confidentiality agreement. He did say, though, his company made another offer to the county about a year ago, which wasn’t accepted. Then, the county called back recently.

Cowart added his company, which has about 120 employees, has another piece of property less than a mile from the Ball Ground site that it has been considering expanding.

During the executive session, members of the RRDA met with Cooper, Commission Chairman Buzz Ahrens and Commissioner Harry Johnston, an original member of the RRDA.

During a brief open meeting after the closed session, Duncan said he wanted to be clear that the sitting members of the board, which is now populated by residents, would not let an agreement like the initial one with Bobo be approved again.

He characterized that initial brief, two-page document for its “vagueness,” and its “potential impact on the county.”

Konop called the initial agreement “ridiculous.”

A later, more detailed agreement was signed by those involved, though Duncan said based on the initial agreement, it was not a surprise how the deal later ended.

Comments
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Concerned Taxpayer
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February 10, 2014
You have the same elites (idiots), Johnston, Cooper, and Ahrens, making the decision on what offer to accept after they screwed it up the first time. Definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

These people need to be removed from any further dealings on this mess.
Buzz Off
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February 09, 2014
Yet another CLOSED DOOR deal is in the works. The taxpayers of this county will not come close to being made whole. Many more millions of liability will be born as a result of this marathon-like fiasco. In addition we will most likely be the ones guaranteeing the remaining bond balance. Once the entire deal is aired in public, we will all have to decide whom we will vote for in the upcoming elections, as both Chairman Ahrens and Commissioner Johnston will once again seek election. Lets hope this is a good deal for us all. Also, we all eagerly await the decision of District Attorney Wallace regarding the forensic audit of the original deal with the Bobo family companies. What say ye Mrs. Wallace?
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