The Clermont City Council voted Tuesday night to sue Hall County over the decision to move the North Hall library out of Clermont.
Clermont’s attorney, David Syfan, will begin developing the lawsuit while Mayor James Nix continues negotiations with Hall County.
“It may take as much as two weeks before we file suit in Hall County Superior Court,” Syfan said.
The lawsuit will be based on what Syfan described as the county’s abuse of discretion with special-purpose local-option sales tax funds after the Hall County Board of Commissioners voted to move the location of the future North Hall library to Nopone Road.
At the board’s Monday work session, Commissioner Bobby Banks proposed a compromise in which the county would donate the $2 million state grant for which it applied to construct a smaller library in Clermont.
Assistant County Administrator Phil Sutton said state money could not be easily reallocated because it is site specific.
But Nix said a copy he obtained of the county’s application for grant funding from the Board of Regents strengthens the city’s case.
“Lo and behold, that grant application said city of Clermont,” Nix said to a roar of applause from Clermont residents at the meeting.
“It sure don’t sound like that money can be used at Nopone (Road).”
Though the council members voted to forge ahead with their fight for the library, they acknowledge they may need additional support.
“This is not going to be an easy or a cheap situation,” Nix said.
The council also voted to send a formal letter to Hall County Library Director Adrian Mixson to ask for the resignation of library board member Carlyle Cox.
At the commissioners’ work session Feb. 8, Chairman Tom Oliver proposed building the library on the same property as the proposed park and community center.
Oliver said combining the facilities would not only save money and serve more people, but would create a one-of-a-kind facility.
Clermont residents, on the other hand, felt jilted, saying they had been told for years that the sales tax-funded North Hall library would be rebuilt in Clermont to replace the aging facility that now serves the city.
The commissioners have since voted 4-1 to build the library with the North Hall park and community center.