County to discuss Bobo resolutions at meeting
by Marcus E. Howard
September 16, 2012 12:59 AM | 2022 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CANTON – Cherokee County Board of Commissioners at Tuesday’s meeting will consider a resolution regarding Ball Ground Recycling in response to a grand jury’s recommendations.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at the county administration building following a 3 p.m. work session.

At their last meeting on Sept. 4, commissioners unanimously directed the county attorney to draft a resolution in support of the recommendations on how to move forward with the controversial issue.

In August, the grand jury recommended several actions, including a full audit on the financial operations associated with Ball Ground Recycling and the Resource Recovery Development Authority in the issuance of $18.1 million in bonds, used to move the company from county property near Holly Springs to Ball Ground.

The grand jury also recommended the county recover all costs from Ball Ground Recycling owner Jimmy Bobo related to the project.

Commissioner Jim Hubbard said the grand jury items referring to the actual construction and operation of the recycling center are items that the commission has been requesting for the past six to eight months. However, commissioners don’t have the legal authority to demand the records, he said.

“Therefore, we are getting nowhere,” Hubbard said.

“There have been many accusations against (commissioners) and several companies and banks. We have investigated many of them, and we found that either there was no documentation of the actions or the records were private and not open to inspection without a court order,” Hubbard said.

Hubbard said commissioners will be discussing the issue in detail at their work session meeting and believes they will once again ask the district attorney and grand jury to investigate.

Commissioner Harry Johnston agreed that the county’s work on a forensic audit can’t move forward unless it can get access to additional records from the bank and Bobo’s other companies. He said the commission has asked for help from the bankruptcy court.

“But we intend to pursue all avenues to recover the back rent and any other amounts Bobo owes us,” said Johnston. “We hope to be able to pierce the corporate veil and proceed against his other companies, which we believe still have assets to pay some or all his obligation to the county.”

The grand jury recommendation Johnston said he agreed the least with is the recovery of the cost for removing the buried wood debris at the Blalock Road site. He said there is little investigative evidence to show that Bobo left more material than he took in.

“And it’s entirely possible that other operations on the site prior to Bobo’s may have left some or all of it,” said Johnston. “Those were essentially county operations. It would be expensive to bring a suit to try to recover that cost from Bobo and we think we’d lose.”

In 2006, the county created the RRDA, composed of the five county commissioners. The bonds were used to relocate Bobo’s company from its former location on Blalock Road near Holly Springs to its site on Highway 5 just south of Ball Ground.

Bobo was under a lease agreement with the authority to pay $100,000 a month in bond payments up to $18.1 million borrowed by the authority to purchase land and equipment for the operation, which the authority owns under the agreement.

Commissioners learned last year that Bobo had not been making payments into an escrow account.

In May, Ball Ground Recycling filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and Bobo was forced to vacate the property. The Blalock Road site is now the site of the Badger Creek Soccer Park, which is county-owned and operated by the Cherokee Soccer Association under an agreement with the county.

The county has already filed a motion for discovery in bankruptcy court, which asks Bobo to produce documents relating to the construction, financing and development of Ball Ground Recycling.

Going forward, the first step is the get a new operator on board, which is near completion but will most likely mean accepting a lower rent than was originally negotiated with Bobo, Johnston said.

“When that’s done, we’ll seek to restructure the debt to bring the payments down to match the new revenue stream as closely as possible,” he said. “I’d like for the county to retain final control of the facility because it may ultimately be worth the $18 million originally spent to buy and build it.”

Other items on the agenda include:

* Consideration of a resolution to define commission policy regarding the proposed Homestead Optional Sales Tax, or HOST, referendum;

* Consider approval to purchase a hydraulic thumb attachment for the Komatsu PC220 trackhoe from Tractor & Equipment Company for the county Roads and Bridges Department for $11,594.12;

* Consider adoption of a resolution to establish the animal service fee schedule for the Cherokee Animal Shelter to off-set the cost of animal care;

* Consider approval to award the construction contract to the lowest responsible bidder, CABLIK Enterprises LLC, for the Fire/ES Training Center for $3,084,812, which includes the base bid proposal sum plus acceptance of ADD alternatives. A separate contingency amount of $150,000 is requested, bringing the total to $3,234,812. Also, requesting approval of a change order for design/engineering services to POND and Company for $40,000.

* Consider approval of an addendum to extend the partnership agreement with the Cherokee Saddle Club for construction and maintenance of horse and hiking trails at Garland Mountain for an additional five years, which will expire on Sept. 30, 2017;

* Consider approval of a new professional services agreement with Sparkling Clean of Georgia for janitorial services to include the addition of two facilities and the extra square footage of the Renovated Senior Center for $532,992;

* Consider approval to purchase 14 new patrol vehicles for the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office from Brannen Motor Company and Hardy Chevrolet for $395,193.
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