Glynn County’s finance committee recommended on Tuesday allocating more money to cover legal fees resulting from a class-action lawsuit that found the county had overcharged thousands of residents on property taxes.
The finance committee only makes recommendations to the Glynn County Commission. It does not make final decisions on financial matters.
A visiting superior court judge ruled in the county’s favor in 2017 but the Georgia Court of Appeals overturned the ruling, finding the county had incorrectly applied the Scarlett Williams homestead exemption for several years.
So far, the county has racked up more than $152,000 in legal fees, and chief financial officer Bryon Jones said the county expects to burn through another $20,000 before the end of the year.
In a memo, finance manager Judy Dunnagan and county attorney Aaron Mumford requested another $60,000 to cover what remains of the tab.
The committee voted 3-0 to recommend the county commission green light the expense.
In other business, the county’s troubles with a would-be turn lane at the Reserve at Demere continue.
“This is probably a five or six year old story,” Austin said.
Some money had been set aside by the developer of the complex when it was built, per county instruction. That money turned out to be insufficient.
“Then they got into all kinds of concerns about what they wanted at that intersection,” Austin said. “You might remember there was a water line that somebody wanted moved and it got very complicated.”
The turn lane was included in a package of 6.82 miles worth of assorted road projects, but both estimates came in well over the $90,000 budget — roughly $402,000 and $279,000.
“We’d like to reject the offer, do a second bid and come back to the board with that,” Austin said.
If it turns out to be too expensive, Austin said it may be best to just drop the project and give the developer its money back.
“If we don’t get a good price at that point in time, then we may recommend that’s something we don’t do,” Austin said.
The committee voted 3-0 to approve the project and to cut out and rebid the turn lane.
Committee members also recommended the commission repurpose $103,400 from two completed Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax 2016 projects supplement the $1.7 million projects to construct a roundabout at East Beach Causeway and Demere Road and issue a request for proposal for a logging contractor to clear and grub land at county’s public safety complex in preparation for a new Glynn County Animal Control Shelter.