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HDDA considers attorneys, insurance
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At their May 26 meeting Hinesville Downtown Development Authority Chairman John Baker said they had a talk with the Georgia Municipal Association who informed them it would be a good idea to create an Intergovernmental Service  Agreement (ISA) with the City of Hinesville as well as hire their own attorney and not use the City attorney.

“We talked about this (the ISA) in March and how we were lacking that,” he said.

Baker said the GMA spokesperson also told the HDDA to make sure they had insurance. Baker said the HDDA reached out to City Clerk Lia Jones who sent them a letter stating that the HDDA members were indeed covered by the City’s insurance.

However, Board member Tom Ratcliffe said the City Clerk’s letter didn’t really address the question.

“I’m not sure it addressed that the Downtown Development Authority’s events are covered,” he said. It did not cover the question of whether the directors of this body are covered.

He said the letter seems convey that the HDDA entity is covered but not individual board members.

Ricketson said she would follow up with the City Clerk for clarification.

During their conversation about retaining their own lawyer, Ricketson said having a different attorney from the City would prevent conflict of interest issues.

“If we were working on something, even in concert with the City it’s to make sure the DDA’s interests are represented as well as the City’s interest,” she said. “Because sometimes those are different. It’s not that anyone it trying to take advantage of anyone else, it is just to make sure everyone’s interests are represented.”

Ratcliffe said the HDDA has been fortunate and to date there have been no instances of conflicts of interests but added, “That could very easily be the case.”

“In some communities it often does happen,” he continued.

Baker said the HDDA had their own attorney when the entity was first formed. The group also discussed the need to add a line item in the next budget to fund an attorney if needed. Neither City of Hinesville Mayor Brown nor City Manager Kenneth Howard were able to attend the meeting. The HDDA Board decided to table the discussion until they could address the issue with the City, possibly at their June 23rd, workshop.

Ricketson said former Hinesville Police Officer Kevin Remillard was hired as the new HDDA Main Street Program and Events Coordinator.

Ricketson said a new woman’s boutique was coming to downtown at the site of the former’s Howe 2 Run shop on Main Street. It is set to open the first week of June. The International Pioneer Telecommunications Association Museum also plans to re-open the first week of June.

Ricketson reminded the Board that the annual Peanut Butter and Jelly collection has started. Since the HDDA started the program, six years ago, more than 12,000 jars have been collected.

Ricketson informed the Board that the City Manager, City Councilmembers, HDDA staff, HDDA Board members recently attended a meeting about the roles of the DDA. The meeting was held May 17.

Ricketson said they are also planning to bring back several events that were either cancelled or modified last year due to the pandemic to include Blues, Brews and BBQ, the Scarecrow Stroll and the Pumpkin Patch at Bryant Commons Park. 

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