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Development Authority talks budget, leadership policy

The Jones County News of Gray, Georgia

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Budget and policy were the main topics of discussion for Development Authority of Jones County members at their October meeting.

The Oct. 13 meeting was called to order by Chairman Greg Mullis, and the first item on the agenda was the treasurer's report. Treasurer Dottie Walker reported the Authority has $81,655.18 in savings and $80,542.89 in its checking account after all bills were paid.

Executive Director William Mathews brought up the issue of officers, and said Mullis wanted it to be known that he was willing for someone else to take the leadership role as chairman.

Authority member Josh Lurie suggested adopting a policy so that the discussion of electing new officers would take place every year.

"We could talk about it in the fall as to who wants to be chairman in January. Maybe it should be rotated," he said.

Mathews said he could write a draft policy and bring it back to the board in November.

Authority member Alan Childs said he believed being chairman for one or two years would be plenty.

Mullis asked the director to talk to the members individually and bring back information about who would be interested in becoming chairman with a draft policy next month. He also asked Mathews about the progress with personnel policies for the Authority and policies with the Chamber of Commerce.

Mathews said he has draft policies that are ready for input from Authority members. Authority member T.J. Heath said those policies need to be completed as soon as possible, and he was willing to help.

"We don't need to wait on this," he said.

Mathews agreed and said he hoped the policies could be in place by the end of the year.

The discussion moved to the Authority budget, and Mathews stated that the Board of Commissioners adopted a budget that was exactly the same as the previous year.

He said that was explained to the members at the Authority's September meeting by County Administrator Mike Underwood. Mathews reminded members, if the Authority has as pecific budget need, they could come before the commissioners and present their request.

Mullis said it is important to get and keep the information about what is available in Jones County in front of the right faces.

"Trade shows are a good opportunity to get the information in the right hands. Web development is another way to put information out there," he said.

Lurie said, if the Authority wants to come up with a marketing plan, he could help with that. He said going to trade shows is a good idea, but Jones County needs to have information to put in the hands of those who attend the shows.

Heath noted that there are ways to promote the county without a lot of cost. He suggested using incentives for results and placing the industrial park in the hands of a commercial real estate broker.

"All the industrial parks in Macon are on the market; ours isn't," he said.

Lurie said the big difference with placing the park on the market now is that it has sewer, which is the big reason it has been overlooked by prospects.

Heath said, if the property is placed with a broker, the director needs to be in constant contact about how it is marketed and the interest it receives.

Mullis suggested Mathews check with his counterparts in other counties to find out which trade shows should be attended.

The final item of business before the Authority entered into a closed session to discuss real estate acquisition was a letter of support for the Jones County Library Board.

Mullis said he was approached by library board member Frank Duke, who said the library is on the short hst for a state grant for renovations and a possible addition. The chairman said the library board intends to take letters of support from local agencies and organizations to legislators to bolster their position for the grant. The vote was unanimous for the letter of support.

The meeting was adjourned following the closed session and a vote to make an offer on the discussed property.

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Original Publication Date: November 4, 2015

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