In what was labeled a "joint statement" from Richmond Hill Mayor Russ Carpenter and city council members, city leaders late Tuesday afternoon again took aim at the Bryan County Commission.
The two sides are apparently headed to court over service delivery. Both sides blame the other for wrecking negotiations.
Here's the statement, emailed Tuesday by City Clerk Dawnne Greene:
“Let us be clear: The City of Richmond Hill never declined going to mediation. It is ludicrous for the County to say that we have refused to talk. In fact, we have been trying to negotiate, then mediate, since last October. However, the County’s premature tax increase only on City of Richmond Hill residents left us no other choice than to file suit that calls for binding mediation. We have over 12,500 reasons to pursue this lawsuit to force mediation. We believe this is the right course of action that protects our residents.
As we have stated previously, the County agreed to mediate services, which determines tax rates, in voluntary mediation. Before we could mediate, however, the County Commissioners passed an increase on just our residents. To be clear, the City agrees that millage rates should be equalized for county-wide services but we disagree on what that rate should be. How can they determine tax rates before services are negotiated? Now, a judge will appoint a mediator and bring us all to the table to determine those services. At the end of the day, we are all residents of Bryan County. The City will strive to work with the County but will always protect our citizens.”
Monday, Bryan County responded to a city lawsuit filed Aug. 21.