EASLEY — The Easley City Council voted unanimously on June 8 to settle the lawsuit filed by Pickens County concerning the dispute over funds related to the Tax Incremental Funding agreement.
Pickens County Council had previously voted to proceed with a lawsuit against the city of Easley for close to $160,000 before the settlement was reached.
The county attested that after the city paid off the $2 million in bonds allocated for improvements to the downtown area with the TIF, future proceeds should have been forwarded in part to the county. Instead, the county argues, Easley kept spending the money.
“We need to settle this and get on with something else,” said Easley Mayor Larry Bagwell. “It’s time to move on.”
Bagwell stated that the $40,000 to be paid over four years was by no means an admission of any wrongdoing and that the settlement was in everyone’s best interest and in accordance with the advice of lawyers on both sides of the issue.
“This is a cheaper option,” said Easley City Councilman Chris Mann during the meeting. “It’s not an admittance of guilt, this is just avoiding court costs.”
In other business, Easley’s annual 2015-16 $13.3 million budget was given final approval by the city council with no tax increases.
The new budget allocates, among other things, $100,000 for maintaining the Doodle Trail, a 2 percent raise for city employees and provides for the salaries of two more positions on the city’s payroll: another building inspector and police officer.
Additions to the fire departments included a $165,000 for equipment and the inclusion of a small pumper truck to the department’s fleet.