Appeals Court hearing Inspector General suit

Palm Beach County Inspector Genera; John Carey

Palm Beach County Inspector General John Carey

At this hour, the Fourth District Court of Appeal is hearing oral arguments in a 2011 lawsuit by 14 cities who have argued it’s illegal for Palm Beach County to create the Office of Inspector General and force them to pay for it.

Click here to watch oral arguments live

With the cities not paying, the county has made up the difference, paying its share of about $1 million a year, plus what the cities should have been paying.

The amount the cities have been assessed since the Inspector General started in 2010, including what they were billed for the budget year that started Oct. 1, is up to $4.9 million, according to figures provided by the county’s budget office to The Palm Beach Post.

Of that, the cities have paid $303,461. Fourteen have paid nothing.

Even though a judge tossed the cities’ suit in March 2015, the cities appealed, and on Oct. 22, 2015,  the Florida League of Cities filed a “friend of the court” brief with the appeals court.

The county has said that, should the cities exhaust the appeal of their lawsuit, it intends to pursue arrears.

In 2010, following a rash of scandals that left the area with the unfortunate nickname “Corruption County,” voters in each of the county’s cities overwhelmingly approved creation of the office, which provides oversight to local governments covering 13,000 employees and $7.5 billion in combined budgets.