The request for mandamus, filed on June 19, claims the commission has allowed various corporations and companies owned by Ball Ground Recycling owner Jimmy Bobo to operate businesses on the same site he leases from the county and that commissioners have not been assessing taxes on the property.
A writ of mandamus is a court order that requires a court or government officer to perform his or her duties correctly.
A hearing to consider the legal filing was set for 9:30 a.m. July 17 by Chief Superior Court Judge Frank C. Mills.
County Attorney Angela Davis said Monday that the county is in the process of filing a motion asking the court to dismiss the petition and that the petition against the county is completely without merit.
Dewrell, who is being represented by attorney Channing Ruskell, a candidate for the District 2 county commission seat held by Jim Hubbard, alleges in the petition that heavy equipment has not been taxed by the county.
The company, which they said had planned to auction off equipment, did not file any tax returns in the county, they contend.
County staff said they went through the inventory of property it owns and determined none of it had been auctioned off.
Davis said she plans to file a motion to dismiss as well as a motion to seek repayment of attorneys’ fees.
“We find the petition for mandamus against the board of commissioners to be completely without merit,” she said.
County Commissioner Harry Johnston also blasted the mandamus request.
“It’s another example of Mr. Ruskell’s frivolous and abusive use of the court system,” he said, adding the county has another case in which it’s seeking attorney’s fees in Ruskell’s past suit against the Cherokee County Board of Elections.
Dewrell, who also serves as Ruskell’s campaign manager, on Monday said that as a taxpayer and a property owner, “we need to make sure we find out what’s going on with that property.”
“People need to watch how this whole thing plays out,” he said. “There’s still something that’s just not kosher here. There are still other pieces of the puzzle that we’re not seeing.”
Ruskell said he hopes the court will rule in their favor and demand the county begin assessing and collecting the taxes allegedly owed on the equipment.
Ruskell, who is seeking to defeat Hubbard in the July 31 Republican primary and has earned the title of tea party favorite, said it’s the responsibility of the county commission to make sure the tax assessor’s office is doing its job.
“Hopefully, they will begin doing what they are supposed to do,” he said.
Ruskell has been critical of the county commission and its decision to transfer money to pay a debt after Bobo failed to make payments owed on bonds the county backed.
The county was notified last year that Bobo was no longer making payments into the escrow account, and the county was obligated to start making the payments.
The county had to make $1.2 million in payments last year and still has to pay an additional $608,171.28 this year.
In Februarty, the commission moved $1.8 million out of Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds into the general fund to cover the payments on the debt after Bobo failed to make payments owed on the bonds the county had guaranteed.
The county created the Resource Recovery Development Authority in 2006 and approved the bond rate for a maximum of $18.1 million in bonds.
The bonds were used to relocate Bobo’s company from its former location on Blalock Road near Holly Springs to its current site on Highway 5 just south of Ball Ground.