Concerned Citizens Talk to BOE On Wilbros

Members of the Concerned Citizens of Toccoa-Stephens County appeal for the Stephens County Board of Education to re-start its financial contributions towards a civil suit against the Wilbros facility.

The group’s chairman, Bryan Dooley, and another group member, Tony Thomas, spoke to the Board of Education at its meeting on Tuesday.

Earlier this year, the Board of Education announced that it would no longer financially contribute to the civil suit filed against Wilbros.

Dooley and Thomas told the school board Tuesday it was time to reconsider that stance.

Thomas said the Board of Education has a lot invested in the area right around Wilbros.

“We have $100 million worth of public buildings within 1/2 mile of the place,” said Thomas.

When the Board of Education stopped contributing financially, it cited budget limitations.

Thomas said that while the cost of the lawsuit may be high, the cost of not continuing forward may be higher.

“It has been expensive,” said Thomas.  “It is going to be a long run, but what I want to remind you all of is that we are afraid of what is going to happen.  If we quit, he is going to do whatever he wants to do.”

Dooley said the board needs to not worry about the money and worry about the students who go to school near Wilbros.

“You need to make a decision based on love for these kids,” said Dooley.  “We, as adults, can get up and go away from the odor.  Those kids at Liberty Elementary, where are they going to go?  What kind of love have you all shown them?”

Board of Education Chair Dr. Elizabeth Pinkerton said that the Board, because of its budget situation, is in a difficult spot.

“We have a great difficulty deciding what to do with that kind of thing because our money is so limited,” said Dr. Pinkerton.  “It is not like we do not want to support it.”

The Board of Education remains a named plaintiff in the suit, along with the Stephens County Commission, Toccoa City Commission, and the Concerned Citizens’ group.

The city commission also announced earlier this year it would no longer financially contribute to the costs of the lawsuit.