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Oakwood backs Clermont in library fight
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Oakwood has joined Flowery Branch in backing Clermont in its battle against the Hall County Board of Commissioners over placement of a new North Hall library.

“While I do not address whether the new location is better or not, I do wish to address a troubling trend with the (commission) as it relates to SPLOST funds,” Oakwood Mayor Lamar Scroggs wrote in a Monday letter to the commission.

Special purpose local option sales tax revenue is not the same as “general funds, which can be shifted on the whims of the commission.”

“This commission seems to think it is at liberty to transfer funds wherever it deems fit to do so without any consideration to the will of the voters,” Scroggs wrote in the letter.

Clermont City Council voted March 9 to sue Hall County over the commissioners’ decision to build a North Hall library on Nopone Road.

Clermont originally was considered as a site for the future library, and town residents say the commissioners abused their discretion with sales-tax dollars by changing the location.

County officials have said the Clermont site was only a consideration and that no vote had ever been taken to confirm a location for the library.

Scroggs quotes Scripture in his letter to the county.

“In the Book of Daniel, the arrogance of the City of Babylon is characterized by its motto: ‘I am and there is no other beside me,’” he said.

“This attitude that you can tell the voters anything you want to get SPLOST passed and then spend it however the commission wants reeks of the same attitude,” Scroggs wrote.

Flowery Branch City Council agreed informally on March 18 that it believes Hall County should build a library in Clermont.

Mayor Diane Hirling said that Clermont Mayor James Nix had asked her to contact other mayors in the county to see if they would be interested in sending letters supporting Clermont.

“I can tell you that during the negotiation for (the special purpose local option sales tax), in the presentations that were made ... it was very clear to me that the county had intended to place that library in Clermont,” Councilman Craig Lutz said at the meeting.

Hall County has received Flowery Branch’s letter, said spokeswoman Nikki Young.

She said that because the county has received notice of Clermont’s intent to file suit against Hall and because the commission and administrators “are subject to possible investigation by the district attorney,” County Attorney Bill Blalock “has advised the commission and staff to refrain from commenting on related matters.”

Young added, however, that “Hall County will continue to follow the letter of the law and the referendum ballot regarding SPLOST expenditures.”

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