CAIRO — Grady County Administrator Buddy Johnson said a recent dispute between the county and Ag-Pro Companies is a thing of the past after it was resolved to the county’s satisfaction.

“I’m very appreciative of them and I want to make that clear,” Johnson said of Ag-Pro. “That’s a good relationship and we will continue our relationship with Ag-Pro as long as they do business this way.”

Johnson made the comments at last week’s meeting of the Grady County Board of Commissioners.

The county’s dispute with Ag-Pro began in September when they were charged $7,000 for labor performed on a 26-year-old motor grader in need of repairs.

County shop director Chris Dix had been under the impression that the labor would be covered by warranty based on a statement made by an Ag-Pro representative.

Instead, Dix was informed that the county would be charged for the labor and that the subsequent repairs would cost between $26,000 and $35,000 — far more than commissioners were willing to authorize for the aging vehicle.

With Dix and Johnson contending that the repairs were only needed due to previous labor performed by Ag-Pro, which resulted in an improperly secured lock washer, the commissioners voted to reject the $7,000 invoice last month and stated they were prepared for the issue to be settled in court.

Following the vote, Dix uncovered a date-stamped picture he had taken which showed that the lock washer was not in place after the earlier repair.

“Our theory was that the washer was not locked on like it was supposed to be,” Johnson said. “It turns out the washer wasn’t on there at all.”

Johnson said once Ag-Pro saw the picture they contacted him almost immediately and offered to waive the county’s $7,000 invoice and repair the machine free of charge

“They did not hesitate a lick once they saw the picture,” he said.

The county administrator said he was appreciative of the company’s efforts to quickly rectify the issue.

“I think it shows good business practice,” he said. “I hate that we had to go as far as we did with the others, but we’re beyond that now.”

Johnson also commended local media for covering the story accurately, specifically citing the rapidity in which the news of Ag-Pro’s offer to repair the vehicle for free was reported.

“That’s good communication between your media, your businesses, the board and all government entities,” he said. “I’m very appreciative of it.”

Johnson said that while he wished the ordeal did not go as far as it did, he was pleased with the end result.

“The good news is we’re not out of a motor grader,” Johnson told the commissioners. “The good news is we haven’t lost a relationship with one of our businesses over something petty, and the best news is they’re doing the right thing.”