The City of Inverness Council will be a no-show at Thursday’s scheduled meeting with county representatives that was meant to help resolve the two governments’ feud over a move by the city and two property owners to have their properties annexed into Inverness.

City Manager Frank DiGovanni wrote County Administrator Randy Oliver Wednesday saying he advised the council bosses to forgo the Thursday meeting and they agreed. He wrote that the county had failed to provide county documents to help in the resolution process and the county’s objections during a bond validation hearing last week by County Attorney Denise Lyn made it clear “that county government is not attempting to resolve any real conflict, but is seeking to draw out the process, expend a vast amount of public resources, and obstruct progress and growth within our community.”

“I regret that it is becoming more and more difficult to resolve this matter amicably, but I cannot responsibly allow the city council to become involved in a meeting with so many problems and pitfalls,” he wrote to Oliver.

The issue is a two-pronged one, but is rooted in the city’s move earlier this year to approve two voluntary annexation requests by area landowners to become part of Inverness.

One property owner is Greg Williams, who asked the city to annex nearly 400 acres of his Lakeside Ranches.

His property is south of Van der Valk Golf Resort and east of U.S. 41. The property Williams wants inside city limits is north of Inverness and about 600 feet is contiguous with the city.

The other owner is John Eden, who asked the council that his 206 acres bordered by Lake Spivey on the east be annexed for development of an upscale RV property there.

The county objects to both annexations, claiming that each violates Florida statutes outlining requirements that voluntary annexations must meet. The city council disagrees and unanimously voted each into the city.

The other issue, still rooted in the annexation feud, was the city’s move Friday to attend a bond validation hearing it was hopeful would resolve the dispute.

That followed after the city’s filing of a memorandum of law request for an Inverness bond validation. In essence, it meant the city goes to a judge and points to the new annexed properties and asks whether the city can include the two properties if it ever needs to arrange a bond issuance to raise money. A positive ruling essentially means the two properties were properly annexed. And unlike other judicial processes, if the county loses and appeals, the issue goes straight to the Florida Supreme Court, rather than having to go through a lengthy appeals process.

But what was supposed to be a speedy hearing was anything but, and a continuation of that hearing scheduled for July 30 will likely have to be scratched because Judge Carol Falvey, who oversaw the first hearing, has recused herself and another judge will have to be assigned to the hearing.

Attorney Lyn, who had asked to be allowed to participate in the bond hearing and argued that it was an end run around having to work with the county to solve the annexation dispute, did not return a call seeking comment Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Lyn has asked the city’s annexation attorney James Dinkins to allow the county to depose three city employees and one or two of the city’s annexation consultants and question them. The three employees are DiGiovanni, part-time city development department employee Marc Black, and finance director Richard LaCondre.

Dinkins wrote Lyn, “Please be advised that depositions are not permitted in a bond validation proceeding and that we will be filing a motion to quash any subpoenas that are filed on that and other grounds. Bond validation, as you are aware as an attorney specializing in city, county, and local government law, is a summary proceeding that is expedited by statute and not subject to motion practice and traditional discovery.”

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Contact Chronicle reporter Fred Hiers at fred.hiers@chronicleonline.com or 352-397-5914.

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