WILLIAMON – As public concern increases concerning the City of Williamson’s $1.2 million debt to Veolia Water, the Williamson City Council requested at Thursday’s meeting that City Attorney Chris Younger pen a letter to the Federal Attorney requesting an immediate investigation concerning the Williamson Utility Board.
Councilwoman Judy Hamrick made the motion to request the Federal attorney’s assistance.
“I like to move forward with a motion for an investigation. I motion we contact the Federal Attorney. He has been here before. We want him to look at the water department and its staff to quell all questions about any inadequacies or wrong doings that have happened so we can get this resolved and move forward. I also request that the city attorney write a letter to the Federal Attorney requesting that they look into our incident with the water board, the staff there and all related activities to look at what has happened. If there is any wrong doing,pursue it. If there is not any wrong doing, lay it to rest. This has to be solved. It has to be taken care of,” Hamrick said.
According to the council, problems with the utility board began around the year 2006. “We seem to think that from what we have seen, 2006 is the year we started losing insight, control and information regarding the Water Board,” Hamrick said.
Mayor Stephen Knopp asked for clarification concerning the motion. “We understand you to be seeking an investigation from the U.S Attorney in regard to the irregularity in the operations the Williamson Utility Board and staff, and to direct the city attorney to draft the letter for the signature of the mayor. We would like the scope to include 2006 to current,” Knopp said.
In relation, Councilwoman Sherri Hairston-Brown requested that the public understand that the city council and the Williamson Utility Board are two separate entities. “You have to understand, we are a separate board. We are not connected with the water board. We do not have their minutes. They are required to give us their minutes but we don’t have them. Things are going to change. Like Judy requested, if there is any wrong doing, we shall find out.”
Hairston-Brown continued saying, “I understand no one wants this water hike, no one wants this rate increase. That is understandable but this has been going on since 2006. You have to understand; a lot of us were not on this board and did not know what was going on with the water department.”
Councilman York Smith expressed similar sentiments. “We have nothing to do with what happened to the water board,” Smith said.
Chris Youngers’ resignation as city attorney becomes effective Aug. 31. After 25 years of service to the City of Williamson, the letter requesting assistance from the Federal Attorney will be among his final duties.
(Courtney Pigman is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected], or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2279.)