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Clermont appeals Nopone Road library ruling
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The town of Clermont has appealed a Nov. 10 ruling that allowed Hall County to move forward with building a library as part of the North Hall park on Nopone Road, despite a commitment from future commissioners to build a library in Clermont.

In the appeal to the Supreme Court of Georgia, Clermont attorney David Syfan cites case law to dispute Hall County Superior Court Judge Andrew Fuller's ruling.

Fuller ruled the county commissioners' decisions were "perfectly compliant" with state laws concerning the use of special purpose local option sales tax money, which will pay for the new library.

Fuller also looked to case law to corroborate his decision in the suit.

Clermont sued the county in April, claiming the Board of Commissioners abused its discretion with sales tax dollars when it "indicated in a multitude of public statements, that the future Clermont library branch for the North Hall area was going to be constructed on a part of the 41.43 acre tract purchased ... in the town of Clermont."

Hall County officials said Clermont was a potential location for the library, but no promise was ever made and no vote was taken on the location until the commission voted in late February to place it at the Nopone Road site.

"We think that there's documents that definitely support our side of the case," Syfan said. "We hope that the appellate court will agree with us."

Syfan said the notice of appeal was filed on Nov. 11, the day after the judge issued his ruling.

"On Nov. 11 was the Board of Commissioners meeting, and their agenda indicated they were considering taking action on taking contracts for the library," Syfan said. "We wanted our notice of appeal filed so that any action the county took would be in the face of our appeal."

At its meeting, the board voted to move ahead with the combined library and park facility and awarded a $9.73 million construction contract.

Shortly after, Commissioner Ashley Bell and commissioners-elect Scott Gibbs and Craig Lutz announced they would vote in January to build the library in Clermont instead of at Nopone Road.

"I do intend to discuss with the town council, where do we go from here in light of the announcement? Do they want to continue the legal fight or do they want to rely on the commitment from the three commissioners," Syfan said. "There are pros and cons to that decision and the council has to wrestle with that."

Clermont Mayor James Nix said the council has yet to discuss continuing its legal battle but should come to a decision by next week.

"We haven't decided to pull the appeal back yet," Nix said. "We still need to discuss with those commissioners and make sure things are going to be on track."