Their intentions were good.
The school board and the county wanted to start the new year off on a good foot when they met Wednesday.
However, the stormwater utility fee hangs over both government bodies like a dark cloud.
"This stormwater utility has left a sour taste in our mouths," said newly elected school board Chairman Roxanne Whitaker. "We've paid it, you accepted our check, cashed it. The feeling of the board is that we don't want to hear about it any more."
County Board of Commissioners Chairman Ron Cross said he aims to collect late fees the school system refuses to pay.
"When a final decision is rendered, we expect payment," Cross said, referring to a pending appeal about a lawsuit questioning the county's ability to charge the fee.
County and school officials have clashed for months about the amount owed on the school system's stormwater utility fees, a charge that took effect in 1999 to owners of property with impervious surfaces, to help pay for flood-control projects.
"The school system's complaint is it is a tax," Whitaker said. "When one government entity is taxing another, all you are doing is double-taxing the people."
Whitaker said the county currently is paying the monthly fee but added, "There is some question of whether we owe late fees, and we are not planning to pay them."
County and school officials say they are unsure of the exact amount of late fees that are in dispute.
Cross said it is unlikely that the county will move to collect on the late charges from the school system and other property owners until a court decision is made on the stormwater utility fee.
In August, a superior-court judge ruled in favor of the county in a lawsuit filed by four property owners who contend the fee is an illegal tax.
An appeal was filed, and lawyers expect the case to go before the Georgia Supreme Court in spring of this year.
News Editor Vicky Eckenrode contributed to this article.
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