Council approves additional $100,000 for legal services

An increased need for legal services has led the Seymour City Council to appropriate more money than it originally budgeted for 2021.

Due to several ongoing lawsuits, the city has exhausted the $30,000 that was available in its attorney contractual services fund less than halfway through the year.

By appropriating an additional $100,000 for the legal department from the general fund, city officials hope to make it through eight more months without needing more, said Clerk-Treasurer Darrin Boas.

There are currently five active lawsuits the city is involved in, three of which are leftover issues from the previous administration, city attorney Christina Engleking said.

“All are civil cases: Two regarding zoning, one involving eminent domain, one employment issue and another involving a sanitary sewer line,” she said.

She was unable to provide any further details on the cases as they are still pending in the courts.

The additional legal expenses were unanticipated so therefore not planned for in the city’s budget, she said.

Engleking works on contract with the city, receiving a monthly base pay for performing regular legal duties. Other tasks that fall outside the scope of those duties, such as litigation, are billed per the terms of her contract.

The city also can hire outside counsel if a case requires an attorney in a certain area of expertise, which would also bill the city for those services.