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Mountain Park Life :: Forums :: City Issues
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Lake Litigation

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GeorgeM
Sat May 15 2010, 05:45pm
Registered Member #390
Joined: Wed Jun 10 2009, 10:29pm
{LOCATION}Posts: 26
From document 933 filed this week in the lake litigation:

"This [Plaintiff's misquoting an Order from the Court] is precisely the conduct that has unnecessarily expanded the litigation of this case, and has resulted in the current state of circumstances – namely the tail wagging the dog, the tail being Plaintiff's attorney fee claim. Plaintiff refuses to accept the reality of either the facts or law relative to its claims, and instead continues to incur wholly unnecessary attorney's fees, which it in turn claims it should recover from Defendants. Despite the fact that the attorneys' fees expended by Plaintiff grossly outweigh any reasonable recovery Plaintiff may ever obtain from Defendants, Plaintiff continues to file motions and take positions in this case that needlessly expand and increase the cost of litigation for all parties."

Although this can be dismissed as advocacy by those who insist on blindly pressing forward, more objective members of the community should be asking, "What if they are right?" Legal fees for Mountain Park are now about $2 million, while estimates for lake clean-up began at $800,000.

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GeorgeM
Sun May 16 2010, 03:43pm
Registered Member #390
Joined: Wed Jun 10 2009, 10:29pm
{LOCATION}Posts: 26
Perhaps recent words from the Judge will provide context for my previous post:

Background:

- Summary Judgment Motions were filed by both sides (a normal part of litigation as trial nears).

- The Judge ruled on the Summary Judgment Motions and Mountain Park lost a significant part of its case.

- Mountain Park's attorney filed a Motion for Reconsideration (a 66 page document which probably cost the City $50,000) and attempted to appeal the Judge's ruling to the Court of Appeals.

The Judge denied Mountain Park's Motion with the following statement (document 914 in the litigation):

"In its motion for reconsideration, the plaintiff merely reiterates argument raised in its responses to the defendants’ motions for summary judgment and expresses its disagreement with certain rulings by the court. There is no basis for reconsideration of this court’s February 16, 2010 order regarding the motions for summary judgment [Doc. No. 850]. Accordingly, the motion for reconsideration [Doc. No. 864] is DENIED."

This is the norm, and not the exception, in the lake litigation, and a significant reason the City has incurred $2 million in legal fees so far.
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Wild Magnolia
Mon Jun 14 2010, 06:12pm
Registered Member #163
Joined: Fri Oct 13 2006, 09:57pm
{LOCATION}Posts: 44
It is regrettable that the litigation has not come to a conclusion as of yet. Like many I would love to see the city moving forward. BUT why on earth would anyone spend this money without the insight of seeing a brighter better picture?

Your continued badgering of this subject is deafening. Why not stand in support of the city instead of always standing against? Why do you continue to live here if you are so unhappy?

Considering the fact that you live on the one of the lakes one would think that they would ask their city to do everything and anything to bring the standard of the lake back to the level it was prior to the developments surrounding the city began.

Try this. Support the people who you elected into office to do their jobs!
Keep Mountain Park beautiful including her lakes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You might find this is a great place to be!
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GeorgeM
Tue Jun 15 2010, 08:30am
Registered Member #390
Joined: Wed Jun 10 2009, 10:29pm
{LOCATION}Posts: 26
Leslie,

I love Mountain Park and the Mountain Park lakes. I am also in favor of a sustainable government and a property tax rate which is comparable to surrounding communities and consistent with the service levels we receive in Mountain Park. The lake litigation has destroyed this City's balance sheet (and thereby jeopardized its viability), cost 20+ times more than originally represented to the property owners who are paying the bills, and is not the "guaranteed win" the community was promised from the outset. Someone needs to keep this information before the community as we travel down a path of year-after-year budget deficits - deficits that exist even at our huge property tax levels. I have accepted responsibility for that role as long as we are being taxed at gosh-awful levels, even though it is not my nature to be consistently negative. Who else is providing factual information regarding this subject?

You were part of the government which sponsored, promoted and sustained the lake litigation. You were part of the problem! The only thing sadder than making a mistake is the inability to recognize it. From my perspective, you have your head in the sand. But, I respect your right to keep it there.

Acknowledge that we have different views on this subject and we will not see eye-to-eye. I didn't agree with you when you were serving in office (although I appreciated the humor you often introduced to public meetings). Accordingly, I didn't vote for you when you ran for reelection. Isn't it great we live in a place where people can publicly disagree and ultimately vote for candidates more aligned with their views and preferences?

Speak to the issues and I will enter into a debate with you. As long as the Mountain Park government continues down a path of fiscal irresponsibility, I will speak up, supported by the facts that support my perspective.

- How do you explain the $1.9 million (and growing) cost of the lake litigation? We are already taxed at more than twice the rate of Roswell. How long is this going to continue?

- Despite what has been spent in legal fees, the lake litigation is not going so well. The city's experts were whacked at the Daubert Hearing. A significant part of Mountain Park's case was lost in the recent Summary Judgment ruling. Mountain Park's attempt to appeal the Judge's decision was denied. As I see things, only the lawyers are winning here. I read the litigation pleadings, do you? Isn't it a bit naive to say, "We need to support the litigation and our government" when you don't actually know what is going on?

- If you haven't noticed, the defendants in the lawsuit are no longer in business. The city has already been offered the (relatively small, when contrasted with our legal fees) amounts of insurance available from the defendants who are insured. What good is a judgment if the city is not able to collect it?

- What is your plan? Mine includes governmental financial responsibility - which begins with management of the lake litigation cost. I publicly called for a change in the fee arrangement with the city's attorney years ago, and your Council refused.

This is the time of year property tax millage rates are established. How can there be a discussion of Mountain Park's HIGH property tax rate without a discussion of the cost and status of the lake litigation? Since 2005, the lake litigation expense has been the largest single number on the city's Income Statement (we should call it a "Deficit Statement", since the city has incurred operating deficits since the lake litigation was initiated), and the reason for the year-after-year budget deficits. The city's Operating Fund financial reserves are exhausted, the Enterprise Fund has been robbed of $1 million to pay litigation costs and the city has an outstanding balance to the lawyers of almost $600,000 (more than the city's operating budget for an entire year). This year the City is running a deficit before the lake litigation costs are even considered.

So, what's your plan? The city's current plan isn't working or sustainable, and our property taxes need to be reduced by 50%.
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Whizbang
Tue Jun 15 2010, 01:37pm
Registered Member #286
Joined: Tue Feb 05 2008, 03:55pm
{LOCATION}Posts: 13
yippee
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Keith
Fri Jun 18 2010, 08:34pm
Registered Member #46
Joined: Fri Jul 29 2005, 02:20pm
{LOCATION}Posts: 158
See agendas for the Monday, June 21, 6:30 PM Streets Committee meeting, 7 PM Special Called Council meeting, and 7:30 PM Council Work Session.

If you check the agenda, it's about the Lake Litigation.
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Grandma's Kid
Sat Jun 19 2010, 03:35pm
Registered Member #59
Joined: Wed Aug 03 2005, 02:02am
{LOCATION}Posts: 118
Our lakes are in terrible shape because they're almost full of silt from surrounding development. They can no longer serve the purpose of effective flood control and the fishing is worse than it ever has been. Almost everyone says they love our lakes and our community. As for those critical of the way our city council is handling the lakes litigation-Don't you think that if restructuring the fee arrangement with our lawyer was doable and in our best interest the city council would have done that? Don't you see that we're paying high taxes because we're paying for a legal battle? If we don't get our lakes cleaned up through the legal means available to us then how else are we going to do it?

Grandma's Kid
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GeorgeM
Sat Jun 19 2010, 09:59pm
Registered Member #390
Joined: Wed Jun 10 2009, 10:29pm
{LOCATION}Posts: 26
Mountain Park has spent $1.9 million (on the way to $2.2 or $2.3 million) suing developers who are no longer in business, and who collectively have less than $800,000 of insurance (which has been offered to the City in prior mediations when legal fees were much smaller). For $800,000 (an estimate by the City's experts) the city could have cleaned up the mess itself. The math has not made sense for years. Figuratively, the city is spending $1 to recover 50 cents, and for 40 cents the problem could have been solved. Nice economics.
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Wild Magnolia
Mon Jun 21 2010, 09:04pm
Registered Member #163
Joined: Fri Oct 13 2006, 09:57pm
{LOCATION}Posts: 44
Dear George

From a majority of readers and viewers your view seems to be speaking from the "other side of the fence".

The Council (I was fortunate to sit with and be a part of) was spectacular .Amongst many of their missions -was to move Mt Park into the future all the while preserving the natural habitat for the wildlife and the community. FYI - Speaking of heads in the sand-George- We were not the first council to begin this lake litigation but continued to bring brought it forward with total disclosure(allowed by LAW) to the community. Additionally as a council we were never offered anything near the numbers you are quoting(where are these coming from?).With Consideration of continued building in the Enclave it seems as though they are not in such hard shape as they tell you they are.

George please-head in the sand- Try comparing taxes bases with cities and communities that are comparable to Mt. Park(i.e. population and commercial business. Continuing to compare Mt Park to surrounding communities and cities is unrealistic. If in fact you are comparing Mountain Park to Roswell, Woodstock, or Alpharetta then I will tell you that you are in the wrong city.

As I tell my children be careful of throwing rocks when your house is made of glass.
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GeorgeM
Tue Jun 22 2010, 01:02am
Registered Member #390
Joined: Wed Jun 10 2009, 10:29pm
{LOCATION}Posts: 26
Adjacent communities are more than adequate for comparison purposes - with property tax rates less than half those in Mountain Park. And, perhaps you have forgotten, the Mountain Park property tax rate "pre-lake-litigation" was just modestly higher than these surrounding communities.
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