The industrial development authorities of Oconee and Athens-Clarke counties in early 2012 granted two no-bid contracts totaling $870,079 to Williams and Associates land planners of Oconee County for engineering services for the Caterpillar project.
Georgia law requires bidding for construction projects, but not for the professional services provided by Williams and Associates, according to Oconee County Attorney Daniel Haygood.
The contracts with Williams have not been a secret, though they also have not been widely discussed. The relationship has been mentioned in open meetings of the Oconee County Industrial Development Authority when payments have been made to Williams.
At the same time, the county has made it difficult for individuals to obtain information about the contracts.
As of the end of October of last year, Oconee County had paid Williams and Associates $296,379, according to financial records from the Oconee County IDA. Athens-Clarke County shares costs for the Caterpillar project equally, making the total payment just less than $600,000.
For more, visit Oconee County Observations.
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