City leaders discuss payment options for lawsuit - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

City leaders discuss payment options for lawsuit

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

The legal battle between Columbus' top leaders is falling on the taxpayers, and the price tag is not cheap at $390,000.

Now city leaders are trying to hammer out how to pay the hefty legal fees.

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson said there's never been a dispute that the lawsuits filed by constitutional officers would fall on the backs of the taxpayers.

Instead, she says the question is the method in which they were to be paid.

In this case, Sheriff John Darr and Superior Court Clerk Linda Pierce are suing the city over so-called inadequate budgets for fiscal year 2015.

They say the budgets prohibit them from carrying out the duties they were elected to do.

A judge ordered the city to pay court costs from the general fund to pay for the lawsuit.

On Tuesday, the mayor and council discussed some possible payment options during the council meeting.

"There is no such thing as general fund and so what we were required to do is try to classify this particular payment as best we could in order to actually get it paid because contrary to some, we don't have a pot of money from which we write checks," Mayor Tomlinson said.

The mayor says attorneys' fees are coming from a reserve account for legal fees. A vote on paying the money is expected in two weeks.

Marshal Greg Countryman and Municipal Court Clerk Vivian Creighton Bishop also have a pending lawsuit against the city, and clam they have insufficient budgets as well.

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