DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - It's designed to be the watchdog over county government but the Palm Beach County Inspector General's Office finds itself in a dogfight. At issue - who foots the bill for the new office.
The Palm Beach County Clerk's Office sent bills to cities across the county demanding payment for services provided by the new Inspector General. But city commissioner Adam Frankel says Delray Beach shouldn't owe anything.
"When it was approved overwhelmingly by voters, it seemed the county would fund the inspector general," says Frankel.
The county wants Delray Beach to pay $152,000. Frankel says that's just too expensive.
"In my view it pays for duplication of a watchdog over elected officials and other city employees. When voters approved the Inspector General, I don't think they had an idea what it would cost them," says Frankel.
But the Inspector General's Office says the law is clear that each city would be charged based on the dollar value of contracts from the previous year. The disagreement could lead to a lawsuit. Delray Beach will vote Tuesday whether to join other cities in suing the county, arguing the bill is an unlawful tax.
Together Boca Raton and West Palm Beach owe about one-half million dollars to pay for the Inspector General's Office. But neither city is commenting on whether it plans to file suit as well.
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