EMS station in West Jackson remains a talking point

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No resolution has come yet in the lawsuit challenging Jackson County of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) expenditures for the new EMS station in West Jackson.

At the Monday meeting of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners, Larry Ewing of Hoschton, in the public comments segment of the session, directed questions to Chairman Tom Crow.

Ewing asked Crow if he helped initiate litigation against the county and if he was aware of the cost the lawsuit had racked up for taxpayers to pay. A judge’s order halting work on the station, located off Lewis Braselton Boulevard, was lifted in mid-December after a temporary restraining order was granted Nov. 20, 2012, by Superior Court Judge David Motes. The merits of the case could not be heard in the absence of the attorney for Gilbert & others v. Jackson County.

Crow said he provided some information to the individuals who brought the lawsuit.

District 2 Commissioner Chas Hardy thanked Ewing for speaking to the issue for the citizens of Jackson County but he said he and other commissioners were elected to speak for the citizens and to be good stewards of taxpayers’ dollars.

“I felt like all along we’ve done that,” said Hardy, who called for the issue to be placed on the agenda of the next meeting “to get a full report…from ground zero.” He called for a presentation of “an unbiased, unaltered look at the actual case.”

Hardy said there may be split votes when commissioners disagree, but “we can disagree as men and elected officials.” Hardy said, “It’s crap like this that gives politicians a bad name.” He said he felt the commission had made sound decisions based on the information and recommendations provided “but if we’ve been ‘hoodooed,’ let’s put it to bed before it costs the taxpayers another” penny.

Bruce Yates seconded Hardy’s request.

County Manager Kevin Poe reminded there would be only one meeting in February due to a Feb. 4 Association of County Commissioners of Georgia legislative meeting conflict. The commission will convene at 6 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 18, in the grand jury room.

See the complete story in the Jan. 24 print edition of The Paper.