Smithville council in court over grant -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Smithville council in court over grant

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

SMITHVILLE, GA (WALB) -   A Smithville City Councilwoman had nearly the entire council hauled into court for a warrant hearing after claiming they made threats against her.

Smithville's Mayor, City Clerk, and three council members appeared before a visiting judge from northwest Georgia Wednesday.

Judge James Thurman recused himself.

The dispute between council members is over a half-million dollar grant to improve housing conditions in Smithville.

No one was arrested during Wednesday's hearing. The judge said there was really nothing he could do other than encourage the council to work together, but it doesn't appear that will happen any time soon.

It's a Smithville council divided. On one side, Smithville's Mayor Jerry Myrick, Clerk Cassandra Durham and Councilmen Vincent Cutts and James Champion. On the other, side Councilwoman Willie Mae Davis who requested the warrant hearing, but once on the stand, didn't want fellow councilmen arrested.

"I don't want to take anybody down, all I want is to be treated right," Davis said.

Davis says she's been threatened since raising questions about the city's half million dollar Community Development Block Grant.

"As a councilman you do not help kin folks get information and a grant," Davis said.

The threats were unproven in court. In her grievance, she claims no new applications were taken for the grant. People who received the grant before applied again, and city workers and council's relatives were getting the money. The Mayor disputes all those claims.

"She didn't read what the stipulation was to apply for the grant or to receive it," Myrick said.

He's frustrated to be hauled into court for allegations he says are unwarranted. He says he and the rest of council just want to improve Smithville, and he's tired of the resistance.

"People have homes that are unlivable and need fixing up and that's what we're trying to do," Myrick said.

They've answered Davis' complaint and say the money was released by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He's not convinced Wednesday's court hearing will do anything to improve the relationship and neither is Davis.

"We're going to go forward with it. It's just aggravating you know," Myrick said.

"I don't care if they ever like me but I'm not going to support it," Davis said.

So Smithville will move forward still divided.

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