WILLIAMSON – At Thursday’s regular meeting, the Williamson Utility Board unanimously approved a motion that will eliminate 25 percent of the cities’ $1.2 million dollar debt owed to Veolia Water.
At the meeting, the general revenue fund had a balance of approximately $642,183.22.
Upon review of the balance, Jerry Hurley a member of the Williamson Utility Board, made a motion to pay Veolia up to January 1, 2015.
Hurley acted as spokesperson at the meeting in the absence of Mayor Pro Tem, Matthew Newsome. “Veolia has been very patient,” Butch Beckett, another Utility Board member said.
“That would cut our debt by almost 25 percent,” Hurley said.
Following the discussion, the Utility Board unanimously approved to pay the amount of $380.398.82, cutting the debt to Veolia by approximately 25 percent.
Hurley thanked the Utility Board and the public for their efforts which increased revenue, making it possible to make the payment to Veolia.
“Our collections are up due to the diligence of Mrs. Rockell (Water Department Office Manager), but also due to the fact that the people of Williamson stepped up to the plate and I appreciate that. We will never be misinformed again. I commend the people. I appreciate everyone’s effort,” Hurley said.
“We’re working, we’re trying, we’re getting there,” Hurley continued.
Following a brief executive session, the Utility Board addressed the issue of increasing the sewage rate.
“There was the recommendation that we could still impose a sewage rate increase effective Oct. 1. Under the circumstances, we are not moving forward with the increase of the sewer rates. The Public Service Commission (PSC) is looking at this and it is in their hands,” Hurley explained.
The PSC is also working with the Utility Board to provide training. “I actually have the PSC coming to the water department to do some training so everyone is on the same page,” Rockell said.
At previous meetings, it was made apparent that there was a lack of communication between the Utility Board and the Williamson City Council.
In an effort to increase communication between the Utility Board and the Williamson City Council, the Utility Board has asked City Clerk, Larry Brown to sit in on the Utility Board meetings. Larry Brown also provides legal counsel at the Williamson City Council meetings.
“I have asked Mr. (Larry) Brown as City Clerk to attend these meetings and liaison between the City Council and the Utility Board,” Hurley said.
In closing remarks, the Utility Board discussed the fact that this is not a problem that is quickly or easily solved.
Hurley said, “I inherited this and I’m sorry. This problem didn’t start overnight and it won’t be fixed overnight.”
The next Utility Board meeting will be held on Oct. 8, 2015 at 3:30 p.m.
(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.)