Easley, school district settle TIF dispute

By Ben Robinson
Staff Reporter

EASLEY — The city of Easley passed an agreement to clear up a tax-increment financing dispute with the School District of Pickens County during its meeting Monday night.

But councilman Chris Mann stood to say the city is not admitting any wrongdoing in the dispute, merely agreeing to a settlement to clear matters between the two governing bodies, rather than go through an ugly fight such as the one that played out in courts in a drawn-out saga involving a lawsuit between the school district, Pickens County and the city of Clemson that was finally settled last year.

“I support the resolution, but not the entire concept,” Mann said.

City administrator Fox Simons reported that the board of trustees for the School District of Pickens County passed a similar resolution at its last meeting.

With the matter cleared, council voted 7-0 in favor of the resolution.

“The dispute was settled not with lawyers or courts, but simply by the two entities sitting down and talking through an agreement,” school board chairman Brian Swords said in an online post after the school board voted 5-1 to approve the agreement at its most recent meeting. “By coming to an agreement, it allows the money to stay in our county, not with attorneys or to pay for expensive court costs.

“It also further strengthens our county by allowing the school district and city to put this behind us and begin working together again to better our community.”

In other business, council also approved appointing Christopher McFarlin as a city judge.

Council members also approved a resolution declaring the city’s intent to issue Easley Combined Utilities revenue bonds to cover the expense of any expenditures made by the city department of public works.

Councilman Jim Robinson, who represents Easley Combined Utilities in his private law practice, recused himself from the vote.

Council passed the measure 6-0 with Robinson abstaining.