County Manager Jerry Cooper said Tuesday Peach State Organics, which plans to operate the shuttered plant on Highway 5, is working to finalize private financing for the project.
“Peach State Organics continues to work towards finalizing private financing of the project, and we continue to be optimistic that a final agreement can be reached prior to the Oct.1 deadline,” Cooper said.
The Resource Recovery Development Authority, who owns the property, voted to approve a letter of interest from Peach State Organics saying the company will pay $30,000 a month for 36 months before paying off the rest of the $7 million in 2017. The Board of Commissioners agreed the first year of payments would need to be paid upfront, and were to be paid by Oct. 1.
Chairman Buzz Ahrens said he has confidence in the Indiana-based company’s offer and intent to purchase the plant.
The county has been trying to sell the facility since its operator, Jimmy Bobo, went out of business and taxpayers were left to pay $100,000 a month in bond debt. Commissioners created the RRDA in 2006 to guarantee $18 million in bond debt for Bobo to move the facility. Cherokee still owes about $16 million.
“I have no reason to believe that we wouldn’t reach an agreement. I’m optimistic that we will have a commitment from Peach State Organics before that letter of intent deadline ends,” Ahrens said.
Peach State Organics is being started by Don Willis, who is also president and CEO of Green USA Recycling and Second Cycle Recycling, which are located in Indiana.
Cowart Mulch, a Sugar Hill-based company, offered to buy the facility earlier this year and sued when the county turned down its $4.2 million offer, after it received preliminary approval from the county.
County Attorney Angie Davis said Tuesday the county’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit is on hold due to jurisdictional questions that have arisen.
“It is on hold as the issue of jurisdiction is being considered by the court. Based on the federal claims asserted against the county, the county removed the case from the Cherokee County Superior Court to the federal district court,” Davis said.
Cowart, in turn, seeks to return the case to the Superior Court, Davis said.
“All this will impact is the question of which court will consider the case as the issue of jurisdiction does not address the substantive claims in the case,” Davis said. “The county looks forward to these jurisdictional issues being resolved so that its efforts to have the case dismissed pursuant to its motion to dismiss can be addressed.”