Decatur Co. files official response to Bainbridge lawsuit

Published 8:13 pm Friday, December 19, 2014

Decatur County filed an official response to the City of Bainbridge’s lawsuit Friday regarding the current Service Delivery Agreement between the two entities and the alleged inequities found within it.
The response to the original petition, filed by Bainbridge Nov. 14, addresses each claim and accusation by paragraph.
The response opens by arguing, “(Bainbridge’s) Petition fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted,” and also claims that “(Bainbridge’s) petition is not ripe for adjudication,” the “claims are barred by the doctrines of laches and unclean hands” and Bainbridge “had an affirmative responsibility to resolve any service delivery dispute that existed at the time it agreed to the L.O.S.T. distribution set forth (on Oct. 15, 2013),” according to the counter-claim.
One of the major claims present in the response is the accusation that Bainbridge incorrectly interprets laws relative to Service Delivery Strategy, which Bainbridge called on heavily in their original petition to point on why they believed city taxpayers are paying for services they currently do not receive.
“By entering in to the L.O.S.T. negotiation and agreement, the City of Bainbridge necessarily agreed to the then existing service delivery strategy and cannot now seek to correct some perceived inequity that they were duly bound to correct in October 2014,” the counter-claim reads.
The current Service Delivery agreement is effective through October 2017.
The response also claims Bainbridge residents enjoy a greater measure of property tax relief than citizens in the unincorporated portion of Decatur County. To this extent, any inequities in service delivery should be offset by the “unconstitutional tax inequity” present in the current L.O.S.T. tax distribution.
Currently, Attapulgus receives 2.46 percent of L.O.S.T. funds, Bainbridge receives 41.38 percent, Brinson receives 1.08 percent, Climax receives 1.63 percent and Decatur County receives 53.45 percent.
Furthermore, Decatur County seeks reappointment of these L.O.S.T. distributions between them and Bainbridge to correct the inequity they are claiming is in violation of several provisions in the Georgia Constitution.

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