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County sets process to reimburse for towing in first ice storm
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Forsyth County News

CUMMING — Some motorists whose vehicles were towed during a recent winter storm soon may be able to receive reimbursement from Forsyth County.

During a work session Tuesday, county commissioners voted 5-0 to approve a resolution allowing county staff to oversee the effort.

Anyone who feels they may be deserving of a reimbursement for towing Jan. 28 or 29 will have to fill out a form.

Staff members will then have the authority to review each application and decide whether to award payment, as well as the amount.

Commissioners capped the potential funding at $10,000 total. Individual payments likely will fall within a range of $100 to $300, but will be granted at the discretion of the county manager.

Commissioners first discussed the possibility of reimbursements during a work session Feb. 11.

At that time, they directed County Attorney Ken Jarrard to investigate all the legalities associated with such a move.

On Tuesday, Christopher Hamilton, assistant county attorney, said the effort would be acceptable under state law.

“It is legal in fact to use public funds for the reimbursements considering it was a state of emergency, the governor declared it that,” Hamilton said.

He went on to note that the effort “is not precedent setting.”

“This was an unprecedented event where we had a storm that caused a pileup on Ga. 400 and other places where we had to tow folks out with emergency vehicles,” Hamilton said.

“This resolution in no way sets a precedent that every time there’s a weather event we’re going to have to tow folks if they get stuck.”

County Manager Doug Derrer said communications department staff had drafted the request form.

“It is quite detailed, requesting a lot of information [such as] type of vehicle, color of vehicle, tag number … a narrative of what occurred that day and a description of the positioning of the vehicle to the roadway,” he said.

“We’ve gone probably more detailed in our requests on this reimbursement form than probably most other [governments].”

Derrer also pointed out that information provided by vehicle owners will need to match records from the local sheriff’s office.

“We’re going to fact-check all the information,” he said. “The sheriff’s office has tag numbers of all and photos of most of the vehicles [they had to have towed].”

Derrer said the process by which individuals can submit a claim should be up on the county website, www.forsythco.com, by sometime on Friday February 28th. Forms will have to be submitted by a certain date.

Commission Chairman Pete Amos said there would be no appeals process for claims that are denied.