Decatur County sends City of Bainbridge large-sweeping open records request

Published 9:03 pm Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Decatur County Board of Commissioners sent an open records request to the Bainbridge City Council Monday asking for numerous invoices and documentation dating back to 2012.

The three-page request lists 21 items of city information the board is asking to be delivered to them within three business days.
The requested information includes copies of printouts listing all city employees and their salary or wages, copies of any and all written reprimands issued to Bainbridge City Manager Chris Hobby and invoices from any law firm services rendered to the City of Bainbridge from Jan. 1, 2012, to now.

The open records request also asks for a few unusual items, including all invoices associated with the construction of a “wet bar” or sink, furniture and fixtures in Hobby’s office.

“It’s information I hope will be helpful in negotiations,” Decatur County Attorney Brown Moseley said, alluding to possible future discussions with the Bainbridge City Council over service delivery strategy.

In November 2013, The City of Bainbridge delivered a 16-page open records request to Decatur County requesting information pertaining to service delivery agreements between the two entities. These agreements clearly define the various services each entity is responsible for.

On Aug. 5, Bainbridge attorney Buddy Welch of Smith, Welch, Webb & White in McDonough, Georgia, presented the Bainbridge City Council with his findings gathered from the county’s submission, revealing Bainbridge residents were being “double-taxed” for certain services, including animal control, fire protection and code enforcement.

Since then, quarterly meetings that had been established to bring city and county officials together have been disbanded.

“This request disappoints me because it once again forces the county commission and their staff to dodge and weave instead of talking about city residents paying county taxes for services they aren’t receiving,” Bainbridge Mayor Edward Reynolds said in an official statement at the City Council meeting Tuesday.

“There’s nothing in the county’s open record request that suggests their concern with treating the county tax payer who just so happens to live in the city fair or equitably.”

Moseley said he did not know what the county planned to with the information once received from the city, noting that would depend on what the information reveals.