City Will Not Further Help Fund Wilbros Litigation

July 11, 2013

The city of Toccoa is stopping its financial contributions to the legal costs associated with the Wilbros’ civil suit.

In a letter dated Tuesday and delivered to county offices, the city stated that while it fully supports the Wilbros’ litigation, it is no longer able to financially participate.

The letter is the result of a unanimous decision made by the city commission, according to city officials.

The city told the county in the letter that it agrees to continue to participate as party plaintiff in the suit, if that is acceptable to the county.

In the letter, the city stated that it originally agreed to commit a maximum of $20,000 to the litigation. The letter then stated that the city has paid in excess of $60,000 currently.

City officials stated in the letter that the fact that the city can no longer participate financially is not an indication that the city does not fully support the litigation.

According to the city’s letter, the city supports the suit but states the resources of the city for this unbudgeted item are limited.

The city has also agreed to pay its agreed to 17 percent share of any costs and legal expenses associated with the Wilbros’ litigation through this past Monday, July 8.

Stephens County, the city of Toccoa, the Stephens County School System, and the Concerned Citizens of Toccoa-Stephens County citizens’ group are suing Wilbros and associated defendants over the odor coming from the Rose Lane facility.

Under an intergovernmental agreement approved last year to handle payment of legal costs associated with the suit, Stephens County agreed to pay 33 percent of the legal expenses to Stack and Associates, the city of Toccoa agreed to pay 17 percent with an initial maximum contribution authorization of $20,000, the Stephens County Board of Education agreed to pay 20 percent with an initial maximum contribution authorization of $20,000, and the Stephens County Development Authority agreed to pay 10 percent with an initial maximum contribution authorization of $20,000.

Those four agencies made up 80 percent of the cost, with the other 20 percent coming from the Concerned Citizens of Toccoa-Stephens County.

Earlier this year, the Stephens County Board of Education announced that it had put payments towards the legal costs on hold.

As for the Development Authority, Executive Director Tim Martin said that Stephens County has agreed to pick up the Development Authority’s contribution to legal costs since the authority has received less funding this year from the county in its budget.

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