County, Town Resolve JGC Rent Dispute

The governments of Clarke County and Berryville have resolved a $140K utility payment dispute dating from the Joint Government Center’s opening three years ago. The resolution defuses an issue that had County and Town officials at odds and threatened the County’s cash flow from withheld Town inter-government payments.

Joint Government Center, Clarke County, Virginia – Photo Edward Leonard

The budget dispute, which focused on funds that the Town claimed it was owed by the County for a roughly four-month period from December 2008 through March 2009, apparently remained on the Town’s books but was never acknowledged by County officials. When County administration eventually decided to dispute the payment to the Town of Berryville, Town manager Keith Dalton in turn withheld a $58K payment owed to the County.

The matter came to a head during a recent JGC sub-committee meeting and was eventually forwarded to the respective heads of government for resolution.

At Wednesday’s JGC meeting Dalton announced that discussions between Berryville mayor Wilson Kirby and Clarke County Supervisor Chairman Michael Hobert (Berryville) had successfully resolved the issue in favor of the Town’s position.

“Chairman Hobert and Mayor Kirby met and resolved the majority of the amount,” Dalton said. “After discussions approximately $12K remained in dispute but that amount was later adjusted to $8K due to an accounting error.”

Dalton said that Hobert and Kirby agreed to split the final disputed amount.

“The majority of the amount was never really in dispute,” said JGC member Supervisor David Weiss (Buckmarsh). “The issue really came up because this committee didn’t address it in a timely manner. Hopefully that’s behind us now and we can all move forward.”