Bainbridge Mayor Edward Reynolds responded to Decatur County Board of Commissioners Chairman Frank Loeffler’s letter from earlier this week regarding the county’s intention to pull out of the quarterly joint meetings the two local governments had set up earlier this year. (See our article about Loeffler’s letter to Reynolds earlier this week).
In the letter, Mayor Reynolds refers to a face-to-face meeting he had with Loeffler at the county commissioner’s home on Wednesday.
Mayor Edwards said the City of Bainbridge is not suing Decatur County commissioners and has no plans to do so.
“At this point we only want to discuss what we view as service delivery inequities,” Reynolds wrote.
Later in the letter, the mayor wrote that the city is not seeking money from the county government’s budget.
“We are not attempting to balance our budget at the county’s expense. We simply want to make sure that the residents of Bainbridge are taxed fairly.”
Mayor Reynolds elaborated on the Bainbridge City Council’s meeting on August 5, when two attorneys hired by the city presented an outline of 10 areas in which they feel “double taxation” or failure to provide services is occurring.
“We had originally placed [the attorneys’s presentation] on the agenda as a closed session for the discussion of a legal issue but decided on the day of the meeting that we wanted to have the discussion in open session,” Reynolds wrote. “We did this because we wanted to avoid the appearance that we were contemplating legal action.”
Reynolds referred to the City Council’s granting of authority to a committee comprised of the mayor, city manager, and three attorneys to meet with county officials to discuss service delivery issues.
“This is entirely in keeping with the agreement that the city and county entered into on October 15, 2013 to re-commence sales tax negotiations following the 2014 legislative session. As you know, we have always viewed sales tax and service delivery negotiations as inseparable.”
Mayor Reynolds proposed that the city’s committee meet with county officials to discuss service delivery issues sometime in September and October; this would presumably be separate from any quarterly joint meeting that may occur if the “Council of Joint Governments” is resumed.
Finally, Mayor Reynolds asked Loeffler and other county commissioners to reconsider their decision to drop out of the planned quarterly meetings.
“I personally feel like the joint meetings can provide a productive environment conducive to resolving contentious issues … The Council of Governments meetings provide us a forum to productively discuss issues and resolve disagreements. I sincerely hope you and your fellow commissioners will reconsider your decision to no longer participate in these meetings.”
(The preceding is a summary of Reynolds’ two-page letter to Loeffler, to read more, click the link below.)