Justices vote down appropriation to pay outstanding Jefferson County bills


By Ray King

Legislation to appropriate more than $392,000 that was needed to pay outstanding bills was voted down during a special called meeting of the Quorum Court Tuesday night.

County Judge Gerald Robinson called the meeting to take care of more than 20 proposed ordinances and resolutions that had been pending, some of them since January, because the county’s legislative body had not approved a policies and procedures ordinance which is required by state law.

In July, seven members of the Quorum Court met in what Robinson has called an illegal meeting to approve an ordinance which Prosecuting Attorney S. Kyle Hunter said in his opinion is legal until a judge decides differently. Robinson has filed a lawsuit against the members of the Quorum Court, alleging that they are usuring his authority.

After the meeting, Robinson said the no votes will result in overdue bills not being paid.

On Tuesday, with two members absent, the ordinance allocating $392,043.02 was defeated with 6 no votes to 5 yes votes. Voting no were Justices of the Peace Reginald Adams, Melanie Dumas, Lloyd Franklin Jr., Brenda Bishop-Gaddy, Cedric Jackson, and Margarite Williams who abstained.

Also rejected was an appropriation for $230582.97 which Robinson said in a request for the money that it was needed to offset negative balances and cover expenses that have resulted in a pending lawsuit involving the sheriff.

A proposed ordinance that would have provided money for the justices of the peace to hire an attorney to represent them in the lawsuit filed by Robinson died in committee when it did not get a second.

Another ordinance to add four additional employees to the county road department was pulled and will be redone to specify the pay and benefits for those employees.