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12-14-05 Multi-County Agreements on Bond Debt Can Last for Generations - See Tommy Craig Letter on Jasper County

Attorney Tommy Craig Letter of October 5, 2005- ……. Moreover, Jasper County's obligation to make the payments "shall be absolute and unconditional so long as the Bonds remain outstanding, and such payments shall not be abated or reduced for any reason whatsoever." “Jasper County shall not exercise any right of set-off or any similar right with respect to such payments, nor will it withhold any such payments because……. (Emphasis Added)

AVOC

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December 13, 2005

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Multi-County Agreements on Bond Debt Can Last for Generations – See Tommy Craig Letter on Jasper County

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By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc

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If any local government is considering joining in with other counties and issuing revenue bonds, it would behoove them to read the letter written on October 5, 2005, by Tommy Craig, Newton County Attorney and Attorney for the Four County Authority.

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ALSO, SEE:

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11-29-05 Four County Development Authority ( I-20) Has Challenges

7-12-05 Reservoirs, Consultant Tommy Craig, Dahlonega, Lumpkin County and State

12-17-04 “Progress” on the Four County Industrial Park

12-17-04 'Progress' on Four County Industrial Park Continued...

7-26-04 Jasper County Ousts Incumbent Commissioners


FCDA.Craig.T.Letter-Jasper County.11.29.05

LAW OFFICES

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WM. THOMAS CRAIG

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1144 College Avenue

POST OFFICE BOX 1587

COVINGTON. GEORGIA 30015

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770 706-1320

FACS1MILIE 770 786-1528

October 5. 2005

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Mr. Steve W. Jordan

Chairman, Joint Development Authority of

Jasper, Morgan, Newton, and Walton Counties

c/o Bank of Monticello

P. O. Box. 29

Monticello, GA31064

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Re:     $ 9,000.000 Joint Development Authority of Jasper County, Morgan County, Newton County, and Walton County Taxable Adjustable Mode Revenue Bonds (Industrial Park Project), Series1999

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Dear Chairman Jordan:

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I have acted as counsel to the Joint Development Authority as Issuer in connection with the issuance of the captioned bonds (the "Bonds").This letter is to address the question of whether Jasper County can withdraw from its obligations under the Bonds, or in the alternative, defer payment under the Bonds for ten years. The legal validity and enforceability of the Bonds, the intergovernmental agreements, and other supporting documents has already been addressed and is a matter of public record¹.

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Regarding the possibility that Jasper County withdraw from its obligations to the Joint Development Authority, or defer payments under such obligations for ten years, Section 3 of the Intergovernmental Contract by and between Jasper County and the Joint Development Authority ² makes clear that Jasper County's "obligation to make the payments required by Section 3(a) of this Contract shall constitute a general obligation of the County for which its full faith and credit are pledged." Section 3(a) requires Jasper County to “pay or cause to be paid to the Trustee in immediately available funds’¦ 15 days before any Interest Payment Date... until the principal of, premium, if any, and interest on the Bonds shall have been fully paid.. ..'

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            Moreover, Jasper County's obligation to make the payments "shall be absolute and unconditional so long as the Bonds remain outstanding, and such payments shall not be abated or reduced for any reason whatsoever."“Jasper County‘shall not exercise any right of set-off or any similar right with respect to such payments, nor will it withhold any such payments because of any claimed breach of this Contract by the Authority."4Finally, Jasper County“will not enter into any future contracts or obligations of any kind or nature (Future Contract Payments) which are payable from or enjoy a lien on the one mill pledged pursuant to Section 3(b) hereof... unless the County's pledge of its taxing power of one mill (calculated based on the certified assessed valuation from the most recent year available) produces an amount that is at least equal to 1.40 times the gum of the 1999 Contract Payments and any Future Contract Payments.”

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In short, Jasper County has pledged its taxing power of one mill to service its obligations under the Bonds. Any deferral or withholding of payments under the Bonds would constitute default under Section 6.1 of the Indenture of Trust.6   The Trustee, in this case, SunTrust Bank, Atlanta, holds a lien against Jasper County's taxing power equal to one mill, should default on the Bonds occur.

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Very truly yours,

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Wm. Thomas Craig

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1 See Closing_ Memorandum and Index for Transcript ofthe Bunds, Basic Document No.13, which is myletter to SunTrust Bank, as Trustee et al., dated October 18, 2000 re the Bonds. See also Closing Memorandum and lndex forTranscript of the Bonds, Basic Document No. 34. which is W. Dan Roberts' letter to SunTrust Bank, as Trustee et al , dated October 18. 2000 re the Bonds.

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              2 The Intergovernmental Contract is attached to the Closing Memorandum and Index for Transcript of

of the Bonds, Basic Document No. 3.

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              3   Section 3(b) of said Intergovernmental Contract.

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                4 id

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                5 Section 3 (c) of said Intergovernmental Contract.

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                6 Said Indenture of Trust by and between the Joint Development Authority of Jasper County, Morgan County, Newton County, and Walton County and SunTrust Bank, Atlanta, 89 Trustee. Dated as ofSeptember 1,

1999, Relating tothe issuanceof $ 9 ,000,000 Taxable Adjustable Mode Revenue Bonds (lndustrial Park Project) Series 1999,is attachedto the Closing Memorandum and Index for Transcript ofthe Bonds as Exhibit B to the Petition and Complaint, Basic Document No.1. The default provisions are found on pages 51.52 of said Indenture of Trust.


'THE JOINT DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF JASPER COUNTY, MORGAN

COUNTY, NEWTON COUNTY AND WALTON COUNTY


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November 29, 2005
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Hon. Jack Bernard, Chairman
Board of Commissioners of Jasper County

126 W. Greene Street, Suite 18

Monticello,GA 31064
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Re:     Proposal of Board of Commissioners of Jasper County to withdraw from Joint          Development Authority and obligations for $ 9,000,000 in revenue bonds, or in the alternative, defer  payments or liquidate the debt

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Dear Chairman Bernard:

Please accept this letter as the response of the Joint Development Authority of Jasper County, Morgan County, Newton County, and Walton County (the "Joint Development Authority") to the attached letter of County Manager Greg Williams dated . November 21, 2005. In the letter, the Jasper County Board ofCommissioners requests to withdraw from the Joint Development Authority, or in the alternative, forthe Joint Development Authority to sell real property in order to reduce the outstanding debt of the revenue bonds (the "Bonds").1  
At its last meeting, the Joint Development Authorityasked me as Vice-Chairman to respond. Chairman Steve Jordan, as representative from Jasper County, recused himself from this response.

Speaking for the directors of the Joint Development Authority with the exception of Mr. Jordan, we are disappointed that Jasper County found it necessary to make such a request.
The Joint Development Authority's Stanton Springs project is a major public investment by the four sponsoring counties.Each county at the inception of the project independently resolved to share in developing 1,576 acres located at the Strategic crossing of U.S. Highway 278 and Interstate 20 at Exit 101.

Stanton Springs is to become a technology park with mixed uses: industrial, office, research and development, retail, and residential. The Joint Development Authority’s developer for the project is Technology Park/Atlanta, Inc., notable developer of Johns Creek and Lenox Park. The purpose of the : Joint Development Authority is to attract high quality technically-oriented jobs to our region and the model we are following is one of patient long-term investment in water and sewer lines, roads, and otherinfrastructure appropriate for such facilities. Attached is a copy of a letter from the Joint Development Authority to State Representative Bob Smith, dated October 11, 2005.
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            1. $ 9,000.000 Joint Development Authority of Jasper County, Morgan County. Newton County, and Walton County Taxable Adjustable Mode Revenue Bonds (lndustrial Park Project), Series 1999.

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outlining the overall plan for Stanton Springs. Attached also is a similar letter to State Representative Doug Holt. The project is ambitious but feasible and is drawing national attention.

Despite the fact that Stanton Spring is in the early stages of development,
our site was a finalist last year in the national site search by Merck, Inc. for a very large pharmaceutical facility. Only a special session of the North Carolina legislature appropriating generous development funds landed the Merck facility in North Carolina instead of Stanton Springs.What Merck saw at Stanton Springs was a major base in the economic future of Georgia: substantial acreage located within a short drive of Atlanta's airport and Georgia's finest universities, excellent highways and communications infrastructure, and a pleasant area for employees and their families to live.

What Jasper County requests is that the Joint Development Authority depart from its carefully considered business plan to benefit all the citizens of the four sponsoring counties and sell rapidly appreciating real property now. The purpose of this sale would not be to develop Stanton Springs' infrastructure in an expeditious manner, but to retire debt for the short-term benefit of one county.

The Joint Development Authority must respond that it has an obligation to the sponsoring counties to stay the course as planned. Stanton Spring, at full build-out will contain more than 10 million square feet of developed space hosting a mix of uses.About 20,000 jobs will be created. The "ripple effect" on the region will be vast for employees and their families as well as suppliers, vendors, builders, retailers, and the sponsoring counties.

In short, the Joint Development Authority was created by four counties which pledged their full faith and credit to develop more than 1,500 acres as a regional center for good jobs and smart growth.
To remain faithful to its mandate, the Joint Development Authority must use any revenues from real estate sales to develop infrastructure such as sewers and roads.Without such infrastructure, private investors will not likely locate businesses and industry here, and the initial public investment will be in vain.   Moreover, the quick sale of real estate for the purpose of retiring debt is likely to result in the rapid and uncontrolled development of the area, thereby spawning ugly sprawl and depreciating surroundingproperties.

For these reasons, the Joint Development Authority must refuse Jasper County’s proposed alternativesas unfair to the citizens of the sponsoring counties who are relying upon high-quality development atStanton Springs for the future growth of the region's jobs and tax base.    Moreover, the legal questions of whether it is possible for Jasper County to withdraw from the Joint Development Authority has already been researched
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                2. Each county government is to receive a share in the ad valorem tax revenues from the properties in Stanton Springs equal to its proportion of the debt obligations on the Roads, which for Jasper is 10%.


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by our attorney. His conclusions are contained in the attached letter from. Wm. Thomas Craig to Chairman Jordan dated October 5. 2005.
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Very truly yours,
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Kevin Little
Vice-Chairman
Joint Development Authority

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Cc:
Directors of Joint Development Authority

The Covington News, 770- 786-6451
The Newton Citizen
The Monticello News, 706-468-6576
The Morgan County Citizen, 706-342-2140

The Walton Tribune, 770-267-7780


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