NORTH AUGUSTA — The City of North Augusta has made its move.
The City Council, after nearly an hour of executive session, passed a resolution on Monday in response to Steve Donohue and the River Club Homeowners Association's complaint filed last week alleging that the amended Tax Increment Financing district ordinance approved in November by Council is invalid. The Tax Increment Financing district – or TIF district – is meant to finance a portion of Project Jackson.
Donohue is the president of the Homeowners Association.
The resolution states that Mayor Lark Jones and City Administrator Todd Glover are authorized to take all action necessary or helpful in their judgment to bring the litigation to a prompt conclusion.
That includes answering the complaint, bringing counterclaims against the plaintiffs and initiating additional litigation against the plaintiffs.
Council also authorized the mayor and city administrator to dismiss the claims by the City against any of the plaintiffs should a party dismiss theirs against the City.
Following the meeting, Glover issued a statement, which he said will be the only one issued by Council on the matter.
“While it is not the desire of the City of North Augusta to file a lawsuit against the River Club Homeowners Association, the recent action filed on behalf of the RCHOA forces the City to move to resolve this issue quickly so as to protect the sizable investment that benefits our entire city and region,” according to the statement.
“While we realize that there are those in the RCHOA who oppose the lawsuit filed on their behalf, unfortunately they cannot be individually removed from the suit. It is our hope that this can be resolved as quickly as possible to allow the project to remain on track.”
Council passed the resolution unanimously.
The litigation initiated by Donohue and the Homeowners Association is “anticipated to delay the public improvements envisioned in the Amending Ordinance and inhibit the issuance of any debt obligations secured by TIF Revenues; and whereas the expeditious resolution of such litigation is in the best interests of the City,” the resolution states.
Following the proceedings at City Council, some members of The River Club HOA who were opposed to the lawsuit started putting together a petition to have it withdrawn immediately.
“The good of the community always comes first,” Stephen Posey said.
“We have confidence in the citizens of our community and our elected officials to make decisions that will positively impact our city as a whole. It is my personal opinion that Mr. Donohue's views are not representative of The River Club community as a whole. I know that I personally, and several of my neighbors, are adamantly opposed to the actions Mr. Donohue is currently taking. We do not wish to be part of any such action.”