Long unused Walton County authority meets Tuesday to elect officers and consider bond resolution for jail complex

Bond of about $100 million likely required to fund proposed public safety complex on Baker Street

MONROE, Ga. — The Walton Industrial Building Authority, created in 1962 by the Georgia General Assembly, will meet Tuesday to elect officers and consider a bond resolution to raise funds for the recently approved Public Safety Complex on Baker Street in Monroe. A likely $100 million bond will be needed to complete the jail.

The recently revived building authority will meet in a Special Called Meeting at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021 at the Historic Walton County Court House on S. Broad Street. According to the Agenda, the only items under consideration are to elect officers, adopt a seal and consider a bond resolution to raise funds for the jail complex.

Under the Articles of the building authority as created back in 1962, three ex-officio members of the five members who serve would be “the President of the Monroe-Walton County Chamber of Commerce, the Chairman of the Monroe City Council, and the Chairman of the Walton County Board of Commissioners.” Currently these are Ned Butler who is the chairman of which is now the Walton County Chamber of Commerce, Monroe Mayor John Howard and Walton County BOC Chairman David Thompson respectively. In addition, two other members are to be appointed by the Walton County BOC. This was done at the October 2021 BOC meeting with the appointment to the authority of former Walton County School District superintendent and current head of George Walton Academy Gary Hobbs and retired Alcovy Circuit Superior Court Judge Eugene M. Benton.

But not everybody is happy with such a large tax liability for Walton County residents being decided by un-elected officials. Thompson is the only person on the board elected by Walton County citizens. Although Howard does also hold elected office, it was only by residents in Monroe, not the whole county.

“So five people get to decide our tax liability! So basically it is David Thompson, Gene Benton, Gary Hobbs, Ned Butler and Mayor John Howard who decide 100,000 people’s tax fate,” Walton County resident Rita Dickinson posted on the “Walton Co Citizens Opposed to New Jail Location Facebook Page. “We all need to be there at 4:00 Tuesday.”

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