The City of Williamson owes Veolia more than $1.2 million. Apparently a past administration and management of the water department had some shoddy bookkeeping practices.
An audit that was performed by the W.Va. State Auditor’s office in 2012 said in their opinion “The City has not maintained adequate accounting records to properly reflect assets and the related liabilities on the financial statements of the Williamson Utility Board.”
The report also stated, “the financial statements referred to above do not present, fairly, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States.”
Is it fair for the customers of the City’s water and sewage services to have to pay for this ineptness? We don’t think so.
There is a group of concerned citizens that are circulating a petition to present to the state’s Public Service Commission (PSC). They are protesting the proposed 50 percent rate increase. We applaud those citizens that are volunteering their time for this important issue.
There have been rumors circulating about certain matters, however we remind citizens at this time those are just allegations. There have not been any indictments or arrests.
Others are asking the question – how did the city get in such bad financial shape?
A group of lawyers in Williamson have sent a letter to the Prosecuting Attorney asking for an investigation. We also applaud that. If there has been any embezzlement or misappropriations of funds, then it needs to be brought to the surface.
We certainly hope this is not the case. However, if it is, then there needs to be indictments and the persons responsible should be prosecuted.
But the main issue is the huge debt that the city has incurred. And the fact that this was allowed to happen.
The citizens and customers of the City should not have to pull the city out of this black hole that it has dug.
This huge rate increase is just not fair. It will not only be difficult for those on fixed incomes, but also for those in the lower and middle classes to pay a larger monthly bill.
Let’s hope the PSC will look at the petition and the circumstances and rule in favor of the concerned citizens group.