At some point after the Anderson County Commission meeting on Monday (where the commission voted NOT to drop the lawsuit against Clinton), local officials received the ruling from three administrative law judges who heard the dispute between Clinton and the County over a parcel of land adjacent to I-75.
The Sentinel report includes this statement:
If the county and its cities don’t buy into the judges’ proposal, the matter would go before another panel of jurists. Those new judges would have the power to adopt a growth plan without local input.
County officials have thus far proven quite stubborn in their insistence on keeping the matter tied up in court; at this point, the options appear to be to either give in, or send it to another panel of judges who are under no obligation to consider local input at all.
A couple of years back when the two were still trying to mediate, Clinton presented a rather generous revenue-sharing agreement (even though the County would benefit through property and sales taxes from any development anyway), but the County turned it down. Now, it seems like Rex Lynch wants to go back to the trough:
Clinton’s offer to split sales tax revenue with the county has been taken off the table as far as [City Manager Steve] Jones is concerned, he said Tuesday. The final say-so on that issue, he added, rests with City Council.
“I would hope that the city would be willing to share a portion of that (sales tax revenue) with the county,” Anderson County Mayor Rex Lynch said Tuesday.
If the Clinton City Council is smart (and I think they are), they’d add up their legal costs for the past two years, along with the lost tax revenue from a large commercial developer who walked out when the suit was filed, and ask themselves if the shread of goodwill is worth what they’ve already lost.
Then, adding injury to insult, remember the damage done to Clinton (and Oak Ridge, and Lake City, and Oliver Springs) when the County superseded the sales tax last May, and throw that in, too.
Seems to me it’s time to let the County take their loss and think about how they might work more cooperatively with their cities in the future. Remember, we’re part of Anderson County, too.