BOE vs. Chatham County

The board says the county is charging them too much in tax-collection fees. The decision is now up to a judge.

The courtroom looked more like a school board meeting this morning. Board members listened intently as their lawyers fought the county commission's decision to increase the tax collection fee from 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent, which under Georgia law is acceptable. But the school board says it's too much and it just wants to pay what it owes.

"I think the judge addressed our basic issue, which is what is reimbursement," said Leamon Holiday, the school board's attorney, "and reimbursement means paying back what the cost is."

But the county says it's following the law, doesn't want the court to have to decide cost allocations.

"You get into a battle of accountants as to how they define costs as to how someone else defines cost," commented the county's attorney, Jonathon Hart.

The judge is expected to make a ruling in the very near future, with one of three outcomes. First, the county could win and collect the 2.5 percent as written in law. Second, the judge could find the law unconstitutional and the school board would not have to pay anything. Or, the school board would pay one percent--that comes from an old law taken out of the books which was based on population. The school board is trying to have that law reinstated.

The arguments only took an hour and both sides say the hearing went smoothly this morning. But for now it's just a waiting game; we'll let you know what the judge decides.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro