MOULTRIE -- After months of tussling over who pays what for renovations at Withers Auditorium, the county, the city and the school board have come to terms.

This week, the Colquitt County School Board agreed to a contract with the other two government bodies to share equally in expenses for renovations and maintenance other than routine maintenance. The county and the city are set to sign the agreement in the coming weeks.

The remaining obligations did not change with this new agreement. As before, the school board shall perform routine maintenance and custodial services on the civic auditorium. Furthermore, the city and county each shall pay one-fourth of all utility costs, including electricity, gas and water with the school board funding the remaining half.

Last fall, the city and the school board wanted all three entities to divvy up expenses by thirds for a $121,487.10 heating, ventilation and air conditioning project, but the county balked. County officials interpreted a 1997 amendment to a 1979 contract that states, "Renovations and maintenance other than routine maintenance shall be the responsibility of all three contracting parties" differently than the other two parties. The contract does not specify proportions.

Later, the county relented and chipped in one-third of the HVAC project.

The 1979 contract expires July 31, 2004. The three parties have yet to discuss their intent after that, officials said.

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