Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Some RDC questions

Blake did some catching-up after his return from his vacation, and his last item focused on a loan from the Athens-Clarke Public Facilities Authority to the Northeast Georgia Regional Development Center to assist the latter in expanding its existing offices (which is a good thing seeing how the RDC helps rural communities, well, grow).

District Six Commissioner Carl Jordan was sworn in to serve on the authority, raised some questions about the loan and then, after disagreeing with the 4-1 vote to approve (he was in the minority) resigned his post after merely an hour.

I'm not really clear on some things here, and perhaps someone can give me some clarity, but here's what I'm talking about ...

The RDC, which basically functions as a planning department for rural communities, asked the authority to help it procure about a $900,000 loan from Wachovia Bank, to be paid back over 11 or 16 years with a fee of 20 cents per resident paid by member cities and counties.


That wasn’t good enough for Jordan, who argued that, because Athens taxpayers are partially on the hook for the cost through the per-capita fee, the authority ought to make the RDC check around a little more. He was also concerned about a conflict because he owns Wachovia stock, though not, he assured us, a controlling interest.

Regarding the per-capita fee, it seems, on the surface at least, that Jordan is right. If anything, it does seem he appeared to be concerned about burdening taxpayers with an additional fee and rightfully encouraged the RDC to do what most folks do which is, well, shop around.

However, I'll fully concede I might be misreading this thing. It's not clear to me whether or not there would be any cost passed on to the taxpayer or not - not that I'd automatically oppose that either - since the post says the RDC is responsible for the payment and not Athens-Clarke County.

Still, either way, it's not necessarily a bad thing to suggest shopping around.

Aside from that question, I do think it's rather unfortunate that Jordan opted to resign from the authority based on this disagreement. One would think that if you've got some concerns about how business is being done, you'd rather stay and argue your case rather than pack up and head home.


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