Multiple Wilbros Concerns Expressed to Toccoa Commission

December 19, 2013

Concerned Citizens of Toccoa-Stephens County President Bryan Dooley addresses Toccoa Commissioners on Wilbros.

Dooley spoke before Toccoa City Commissioners on Monday to address a number of concerns about the Wilbros odor issue.

The Concerned Citizens’ group, along with the Stephens County Commission, Toccoa City Commission, and the Stephens County School System are currently in a civil suit in Stephens County Superior Court against Wilbros over the odor.

Dooley said all of the parties involved need to stay committed to fighting the Wilbros odor for the benefit of the community.

“I came to the county, I came to the city, and we went to the school board and asked everybody to unify,” said Dooley.  “Two of you dropped out.  What does that look like?  I am not a quitter.  I am not going to give up.  I do not expect the city to quit either.

The city stopped paying towards the civil suit earlier this year, as did the school board.  Both remain plaintiffs in the suit.

However, Vice-Mayor Andy Pavliscsak and other commissioners noted that the city spent more the initial $20,000 it agreed to in the intergovernmental agreement regarding the suit.

“I am not saying that we should cut it off,” said Pavliscsak.  “I am just saying that when we went into the initial agreement, we lived up to more than our end of the bargain and I think now, it is time for us to look at it again and decide what we want to do.”

Currently, the city, county, and school system combined have spent about $250,000 on the suit.  The Development Authority has also contributed funding.

That total does not include funding put forward by the Concerned Citizens’ group.  That amount has not been released.

City commissioners said they are willing to sit down with the other entities involved to talk about the lawsuit and where it goes from here.

Dooley asked the Stephens County Board of Education on Tuesday whether it would be willing to attend such a meeting.

That board said it would certainly consider doing so.

On another note, Dooley also asked Monday why the city will not write citations against Wilbros in relation to the odor.

He said he called the police to file a complaint recently, but was told the county had to handle that even though he lives in the city.

Toccoa City Attorney John Dickerson said he would research that and provide a response.

Dooley also asked Dickerson about another lawyer at his firm, Austin Perry, who is listed as representing Wilbros and owner Joe Wilbanks in a lien issue, according to documents filed this Fall.

Dickerson said that it is related to matters that Perry was dealing with on behalf of Wilbanks prior to him joining Dickerson’s firm.

Dickerson also said the firm is following all appropriate steps regarding the matter, including taking the necessary steps to remove Perry from representing Wilbanks once the matters are resolved.

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