Negotiations between Headley Bluff and city fall apart
by The Cadiz Record Email News
Mar 01, 2006 | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A city official said Monday there are no longer any negotiations between the City of Cadiz and a group of landowners apparently halting efforts by the city to settle its legal problems over a questionable annexation more than five years ago. The negotiations between the city and representatives of Headley Bluff Land Company began again in earnest last September when a majority of board members agreed to settle the disagreements following several defeats by the city at various court levels.

Those negotiations have now ended leaving the city to apparently face additional legal costs.

The dissolution of talks between the parties, confirmed by Police Chief and City Administrator Hollis Alexander, signals that the four-year-old case will return to the courts. Jamus Redd, City Attorney when the tentative oral agreement was announced, said then he and the city were aware of the city’s losing record in the court system.

With the likelihood of returning to court before them, Alexander said the city council would likely discuss at their meeting March 7 filling the position of city attorney, which was vacated last month when Jamus Redd resigned to become a District Judge for the 56th Circuit.

“I feel like the council will have to make some sort [of decision],” Alexander said.

He said he did not believe any possible candidates for the position had been briefed about filling the post. He also said he was unaware if the city council had any candidates in mind.

Should the city be called into court before it can hire a new city attorney, Alexander said arrangements had been made with former City Attorney Steve Underwood to represent the city until the post can be filled. He said Redd had brought Underwood up to speed on the case.

“If we were called to court tomorrow, I think Steve Underwood would represent the city,” Alexander said.

He also said it was possible Ben Fletcher, who worked with Redd at the Fletcher & Redd law office in Hopkinsville, could represent the city in the interim.

Alexander declined to comment on how the dissolution of negotiations would affect the timetable of resolving the suits against the city.

“I’d hate to put a timetable on it,” he said. “I feel like it’s another segment of the suit.”

He did say, however, that the latest development was unfortunate for the city, Headley Bluff and residents of the Apache Heights and Cherokee Hills, who have for years sought back taxes and the paving of their roads after it was discovered their neighborhoods were questionably annexed in 1996 and 1997.

The suits have also sought to have the areas in question deannexed from the current city limits, which could open entirely new legal questions for the city. The portions of land in question were the avenues in which Cadiz later annexed a corridor to Interstate 24 and the small business district in that area. There would also be a question on whether employees at Industries located along the area would be eligible for reimbursement of city taxes paid over the years.

Alexander declined to comment Monday on whether the dissolution of talks between the parties was more a function of the members of City Council being in disagreement on how to proceed (Susan Bryant and Frankie Phillips voted against September’s tentative agreement) or from Headley Bluff, Arrowhead Golf Course (the largest landowner in the area which is represented by a separate lawyer) and the individual residents who have filed a class-action lawsuit against the city.

Mayor Lyn Bailey could not be reached for comment.
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