DeKalb County has already paid $32,000 to former Governor Roy Barnes in connection with the newly created city of Dunwoody. The County will decide on April 14 whether to plow ahead with a lawsuit against Dunwoody challenging the legality of last year’s incorporation vote.
The AJC learned through an open records request that the County spent nearly half a million dollars in outside attorneys fees to defend the County in court or acted as plaintiff’s counsel on high-profile cases.
For instance, neither side has backed down in a nine-year fight between DeKalb and four of its cities. The case involves the county’s penny on the dollar homestead option sales and use tax. City officials say their residents pay the tax but get no benefit. The fight has rumbled through Georgia’s Supreme Court three times, most recently last year, when the court ruled against DeKalb.
The disputed amount is over $9 million. Meanwhile, the legal bills are mounting. DeKalb spent nearly $60,000 on the case last year alone.
“The city of Decatur itself has paid nearly a million dollars since we started this,” Mayor Bill Floyd said. “I would bet they’ve spent twice that.”
Regarding Dunwoody, County Commissioner Lee May contends DeKalb has gotten a raw deal from the new city.
“The boundaries of what was incorporated is costing us big time,” he said. “And it’s not fair.”
May said he would also like to appeal this month’s decision in Fulton over the Dunwoody sales tax proceeds. “I would like to just fight to the end until there are no options,” he said.