The termination notice came just days before owner Jimmy Bobo filed for Chapter 11 protection. The notice orders the construction debris grinding company to get off the property it leases in Ball Ground by May 29 or start paying the county at least a partial payment weekly of $15,000 to delay eviction.
Now, Bobo can keep operating until his bankruptcy makes it through the court system, according to County Commission Chair Buzz Ahrens.
“The bankruptcy stays the notice. And he can keep operating as long as it’s still in bankruptcy court,” Ahrens said.
Bobo was under a lease agreement with the Development Authority to pay $100,000 a month in bond payments on $18.1 million borrowed by the authority to purchase land and equipment for the operation.
The called meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the County Commission’s Administration Building in Cherokee Hall where the commission normally meets at 1130 Bluffs Parkway in Canton.
The RRDA is made up of the county’s five elected commissioners.
Also on the agenda for Tuesday is a discussion of the organization’s by-laws, which could include discussion of the authority’s membership.
Ahrens said members might discuss naming other representatives to the authority to replace some or all of the commissioners at the meeting.
“This meeting is mainly to ratify the termination notice. We drafted a conditional termination, if he would pay us $60,000 he could continue operation, and $15,000 per week thereafter. It was a default notice of his lease contract,” Ahrens said.
The county is now picking up the tab for the monthly bond payments.
Ahrens said ratifying the notice “would be the proper thing to do since the lease is in the name of RRDA.”
The last time the authority met was during the first quarter of 2010 when the Bank of North Georgia wanted entrance rights to the property. The authority had two meetings at that time, Ahrens said.
The commission in February moved $1.8 million out of Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds into the general fund to cover the payments on the debt after Bobo failed to make payments owed on the bonds the county had guaranteed.
Money from the general fund was originally used for expenses that were paid by SPLOST funds last year and the move would reimburse those payments back into the general fund, freeing the monies up to cover the bond debt payment.
The county was notified last year by the Bank of New York that Bobo had not made payments into the escrow account, and the county was obligated to make the payments.
The county had to make $1.2 million in payments last year and still has to pay an additional $608,171.28 this year. A total of $1.2 million was originally due on a yearly basis, with the county placing $101,000 into an escrow account for the purpose of making semi-annual debt service payments.
The county created the RRDA in 2007 and approved the bond rate for a maximum of $18.1 million in bonds. The bonds were used to relocate Bobo’s company from its former location on Blalock Road near Holly Springs to its current site on Highway 5 just south of Ball Ground.
The county guaranteed financing through the issuance of bonds through the authority.
The Blalock Road site was used for parks for the county. The county government owns about 160 acres on Blalock Road in the Toonigh community, 30 of which was being used by the company, which recycles construction debris into landscaping materials, topsoil and mulch.
County commissioners Harry Johnston and Jim Hubbard have said they hope the county will bring in another operator to run the facility and make payments.
“There are other companies interested in moving into Cherokee County and I feel confident about us finding an operator,” Hubbard said.