Jefferson City Sues Own County Over Surtax
JEFFERSON CITY - City Counselor Nathan Nickolaus filed suit against Cole County at 3 p.m. Thursday. It's over the fact that the city and county could not come to an agreement on the amount of money the city says it should be given back for improperly-distributed surtax funds.
"We're hoping to recover 1.5 million to 1.75 million dollars," Nickolaus said. "That's a lot of taxpayers' money."
The dispute comes from the county collector's office which made a mistake 20 years ago when it moved $4.5 million dollars in revenue over to some entities and moved it away from others. Cole County Counselor Jill Lahue says the county found out about its miscalculations about a year ago. Now it would like to pay entities like Jefferson City back and make entities who've gained money like the Blair Oaks School District pay back money. The county overpaid Blair Oaks by $656,000.
"The terms of agreement with Blair Oaks are going to be harder to settle now since the lawsuit has already been filed," Cole County Presiding Commissioner Marc Ellinger said.
Superintendent Jim Jones said the district does not want to just comply with what the county wants to make the district pay without looking at the records first. He also says the district told the county about the miscalculations for four years now. Blair Oaks school board president Greg Russell said county officials in 2007, 2008, and 2009, told him that the county's figures were correct, until the county found out about the problem.
Had the county and school district reached an agreement, the city never would have sued Cole County. Although the city will square off against them, the county says they understand why Jefferson City filed the suit.
"This lawsuit is not a real hostile lawsuit," Ellinger said. "We've appreciated the efforts of the city who's tried to resolve this."
Had Blair Oaks said yes to the negotiations, Cole County may have been able to pay Jefferson City about $750,000 less than they might now. The county had offered the city a repayment of more than $750,000 over 15 years, but those negotiations never came to terms.
Search for the Case:
Filing Date: 12/02/2010
19th Judicial Circuit (Cole County)
CITY OF JEFFERSON V COLE COUNTY MISSOURI ET AL