Tuner Co. & Ashburn still can't agree - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Tuner Co. & Ashburn still can't agree

Ashburn- Unless the Ashburn and Turner County work a miracle the county will lose their qualified local government status and the ability to get any state grants or permits.

"The city is worried about losing that. That's why we look to work out a resolution," says city manager Ben Taylor.

"That particularly hurtful to cities and counties because you can't get money to pave any roads. They can't get any permits. For example, you can't get a radar permit if you needed a new guy to operate the radar system for the city and the county sheriff's department," says city attorney Tommy Coleman.

Much of the hang up has to do with 9-1-1 dispatching services. The county wants Ashburn to pay $100,000 a year to dispatch Ashburn police and fire calls. The city says that just isn't reasonable.

"$100,000 that would take a tax increase of approximately four mils for the citizens of Ashburn," Taylor says.

Taylor says Ashburn residents are already paying $200,000 more in taxes than the services they receive from the county are worth.

County commission chairman Deral Dukes was unavailable for comment but released a statement saying: "A mediation did take place, and progress was made, but not enough to settle the matter. It was the County's understanding after the mediation failed that the city intended to ask the Court to decide these matters."

City attorney Tommy Coleman says has hasn't asked the judge to intervene yet, and hopes that will be a last resort.

"If you litigate you really don't know what's going to happen. you lose control of it," Coleman says.

Coleman says even if the city and county reach an agreement after the Monday deadline, they'll have to wait 30 days before they are able to regain their qualified local government status and the ability to acquire state grant money.

Posted at 5:50 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com

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