The Winder Downtown Development Authority, on Tuesday, Sept. 10, took the first step toward a new Division of Family and Children Services building near the current Social Security Administration facility.

The DDA, meeting in a called session, unanimously agreed to start a process that would allow the agency to own the building in 15 years.

Paperwork will involve creating a second non-profit corporation, which will have the same membership and officers as the DDA, to hold title to the building.

The new facility will be managed by the Forum Group, which has constructed similar facilities all over the state, John Stell, Winder's city attorney, said.

The building will be leased to the state. All the indebtedness of the new facility will be the responsibility of the Forum Group, DDA members were told.

About $7 million in bonds are expected to be sold to pay for the structure and that debt will be paid through the lease payments.

The DDA has discussed the financing of the building for the past few months.

Chris Maddox, the chairman of the DDA, said the agency has wanted its own money for some time. Acting as the bond seller and creating the separate board will provide that money — but 15 years in the future.

Stell told the agency the new facility would replace the “conglomeration” of space now occupied by DFCS in Winder.

The new board will be the Winder Lay’s Drive Corporation.

The DDA is expected to approve several documents to set up that corporation and to approve the construction of a new facility at its October meeting.

Stell told the DDA that the arrangement is “a pretty safe project” because every county in the state has a DFCS office.

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