Tuesday, April 12, 2011

North Fulton Cities In Legal Fight With County.

Courtesy WSBTV

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. -- One day after the city of Milton settled a costly lawsuit claiming it didn't pay Fulton County for police services, two other north Fulton County cities are vowing to fight similar suits against them.

State law required Milton, Sandy Springs and Johns Creek to be eligible for Fulton County police and fire services during their transition into chartered cities. Each had an agreement with the county to pay a monthly fee for those services.

According to a lawsuit obtained by Channel 2 Action News, Fulton County was seeking more than $300,000 in back pay for police services from Milton. In the end, the city council agreed to settle for about one third of that.

"I think the ultimate decision was in the best interest of the Milton taxpayers," city attorney Ken Jarrard told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

City of Johns Creek spokesman Doug Nurse told Channel 2's Mike Petchenik the county is seeking $581,000 in back pay from his city on top of several millions the county already collected for services.

In its answer and counterclaim to the lawsuit, the city claims Fulton County breached its end of the agreement by failing to keep proper records of calls police responded to within the city during that time period.

In the response, Johns Creek's city attorney wrote of Fulton County: "The Plaintiff has acted in bad faith, has been stubbornly litigious, and has caused the defendant unnecessary trouble and expense."

Sandy Springs city attorney Wendell Willard said his client has hired a forensic auditor to examine Fulton County's claims. He told Petchenik the county was wrongly seeking more than $1 million in back pay for fire services.

"We have tried, before a lawsuit was filed, to work with Fulton County on this issue," said Willard. "We asked for records, but were not able to get back appropriate records to back up their claims. They filed a lawsuit so we have to defend it.”
Willard said the suit is sullying relations between his client and its former services provider.

"The concern is, we want to have a good relationship with Fulton County, but I think this causes a deterioration of that relationship," he said.

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