The Oconee County Industrial Authority voted in a called meeting on Thursday morning to extend its purchase agreement with the owner of Clyde Armory until Nov. 15, 2015, for property the IDA owns south of SR 316 in the west of the county.
The IDA had agreed to the terms of the extension in an executive session at the end of its regular meeting on Oct. 13 but had not taken formal action in public. The meeting on Thursday was to make public the decision.
The actual meeting lasted only two-and-a-half minutes and was attended by only five of the IDA’s 11 members, but four of those five were constitutional members of the Authority, who vote on financial matters involving the Authority.
No indication was given at the public meeting of the reasons for the extension of the contract. Nor has there been any public discussion of what Clyde plans to do with the property.
Agreement In 2013
At a meeting in July of last year, the IDA agreed to sell the18 acres south of SR 316 to Andrew Clyde, who owns Clyde Armory, 4800 Atlanta Highway near Bogart. The sale price was $203,472.00.
The IDA had voted on July of this year to set closing on the property to Nov. 15 of this year.
The action on Thursday simply moved that closing date back a year.
Clyde was at the IDA meeting on Monday and went into the executive session with the IDA. Also in attendance was Brad Callender from the Oconee County Planning Department.
Mary Lenihan filed an open records request with the county on Aug. 12 asking for additional information on the property, including details of underground and above ground storage tanks and permits for wastewater discharge.
Lenihan did not list her address or affiliation on the open records request.
The property is separate from the main Gateway Park property, which is north of SR 316 between McNutt Creek Road and Pete Dickens Road on the southern edge of Bogart.
Oconee County's Industrial Development Authority actually is two bodies.
The county had an industrial development authority that was set up as part of the state constitution. In 1983, when the constitution was revised, the county's industrial development authority was removed from the document
The county was authorized to reestablish the authority via an act of the legislature, and the county did that.
Later, the General Assembly passed a development authority act, which allowed counties to create a development authority. Oconee County did that as well.
The two groups meet as one, and five of the 11 members are "constitutional" members, meaning members of the original group, and the remaining are associate members, meaning members of the second body.
Chairman Rick Waller, Chuck Williams, Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin Davis, Oconee Chamber of Commerce President Kay Keller, and Watkinsville Mayor Charles Ivie are "constitutional members, and all but Davis were at the meeting on Thursday.
The only non-constitutional member of the Authority who attended the meeting at 10 a.m. at the courthouse in Watkinsville was Mark Thomas.
Thomas was appointed to the IDA as an associate member by the Board of Commissioners at its meeting on Oct. 7, but the term specified in the motion by Commissioner Luke and approved by three of the five Commission members was for a two-year term expiring Dec. 31, 2016.
That would mean the term begins on Jan. 1 of 2013.
Chairman Melvin Davis sent Thomas a letter dated Oct. 8 stating that his “appointment will begin immediately.”
The IDA had a vacancy among the associate members because member John Morrison resigned in August after leaving the county earlier in the year.
The BOC could not legally vote to appoint Thomas to the unexpired term by email or phone, since that is prohibited by the state’s open meeting law.
I could not attend the IDA meeting last Thursday, and Sarah Bell recorded the video above.