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Benton County Sues Camden Seeking More Money

By Cyndi Lundeberg
By clundeberg@wbbjtv.com

CAMDEN, Tenn. - Benton County filed suit against the city of Camden asking a judge to decide whether they have grounds for a lawsuit. The county is alleging Camden is not paying it is part for necessary services. The outcome of the lawsuit could affect what Camden residents pay.

Emma Sue Herrin thinks the city and county should be working together. "I think we already pay to many taxes as it is," she said.

Gina Pyburn also said taxes are fine right where they are.
"If [our taxes are] not helping, then maybe we need to look at where the money's being spent, because people pay taxes for something," she said.

The county believes the city is not paying its share for things like law enforcement communication, ambulance usage and library services. The suit would eliminate the city's use of any of these. County and city attorneys will meet in chancery court to attempt to settle the financial differences.

The suits asks that Camden be required to either house its own prisoners or pay the county to hold them in the Benton County Jail. It also requires Camden Police to remove their communication equipment from the tower which the county and city share.

"It's the biggest mess here you've ever seen," Herrin said.

Representing the city of Camden is Andrew Frazier. Last week Frazier wrote a letter to County Mayor Barry Barnett hoping to avoid a legal battle. In the letter, Frazier pointed out the ways the city pays for the things the county does not.

"They should work together I don't know how but they should," Herrin said.
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