We urge them to take this higher ground, thereby allowing both governmental jurisdictions to resume a cooperative path forward.
It is a position we took three months ago, long before the chancellor’s ruling. It is a position we repeat today, some nine days beyond her decree and just a weekend ahead of the County Commission’s next formal gathering Monday morning.
Although mutual challenges remain between local governments such as the ongoing fire protection contract, such negotiations can be aided strongly by the absence of lingering wrangles in court.
If county government leaders approve a planned resolution by 4th District Commissioner J. Adam Lowe not to appeal, and to hand over the disputed funds to the city, we likewise would ask City Council members to acknowledge the county’s good-faith action in its next gathering July 25 by dropping any further talk of sales tax distribution — past and present, unless such discussion benefits both city and county.
The time to end the intergovernmental bickering over dollars has come.
Cooler heads must prevail. And they can with the County Commission’s approval of Monday’s resolution.
As we did in an editorial dated April 19, we remind local government leaders of their own past actions. It is they who entrusted the responsibility of settling monetary disputes with Bradley County Chancery Court two years ago. Since that time, both sides have talked and at times have bickered. Last week, Chancellor Bryant made her ruling and favored the city’s position.
Such a court mandate should not be deemed by either side as winning or losing.
It is rather a voice of legal interpretation, one that Bryant was asked to provide after hearing sound arguments by attorneys representing municipal and county governments.
It was just a matter of dollars — simple sales tax revenue and who would get it.
To pursue the argument by way of appeal merely thickens the hostile air, further infuriating extremists on either side while seriously compromising any hope of future cooperation between two governing bodies, both of whom are integral to the well-being of our residents.
Now is not the time for continued dispute.
Now is not the time for fueling old fires of unrest that once stood as blazing barriers between Cleveland and Bradley County government leaders decades ago.
Now is not the time to re-ignite differences nor to give a rebirth to obsolete jurisdictional prejudices.
Now is not the time to alienate departments nor to draw imaginary lines between the Courthouse and City Hall.
Instead, it is a golden opportunity to open new doors of communication, to shake hands and to regroup as one — not as city and not as county, but as unified leaders whose 100,000 constituents stand to become the beneficiaries of all that is good in government or the victims of all that is bad.
Our hometown is growing at a record pace.
Our existing businesses are expanding.
Our new industrial base is unprecedented.
Our demands on education, public safety, law enforcement and infrastructure are unparalleled.
Such an explosion in numbers should be an economic gift, yet left to the influence of embittered government rivals could derail an entire community into fiscal despair.
No sales tax appeal is a thumbs up to the future.
Anything less is a plunge into the past.