Columbia County GA -
The attorney of Columbia County Tax Commissioner Kay Allen has released a statement:
"We deeply regret the County Commission's decision today to begin an unnecessary and expensive court battle that will do nothing but waste taxpayer funds and delay resolution of this issue.
In accepting compensation for taking on the additional duties and responsibilities of collecting municipal taxes, Kay has done absolutely nothing unethical or improper. For more than 25 years, state law has contemplated that tax commissioners be paid additional compensation when they take on additional duties. That is still the law. This matter could have and should have been easily resolved if the County had been willing to enter into a serious discussion on the contract issue. This matter also could have and should have been easily resolved, without wasting taxpayer funds, if the County had accepted our suggestion to submit this matter to a far less costly binding arbitration to help us quickly reach a fair and appropriate result on the compensation question.
Instead, the County decided to move forward with a lawsuit. We had hoped that it would not come to this, and we believe that this decision is a disservice to Columbia County taxpayers. But if forced to do so, we will defend Kay to the full extent of the law."
Commissioner Allen is accused of misappropriating funds from Harlem and Grovetown. County Commissioners held a special meeting Friday. Commissioners say they are having a full audit of the tax commissioners office and will take action once it comes back. They also instructed a lawyer to prepare a lawsuit to get money back from her.
An independent audit found nearly $93,000 in fees collected never made it to the tax commissioners accounts.