Danielsville city council voted Monday night to pay an $8,551 water bill to the county industrial authority for water used during a recent city tank refurbishment.
The mayor and council also issued a press release, stating in part that they had “at no point seriously considered a payment plan of $100 per month” as was discussed during a called council meeting and work session Nov. 24. They also maintained that the request to pay that amount was “a comment that was taken out of context and exaggerated” in a Nov. 27 article that ran in The Madison County Journal covering that meeting.
However, the industrial authority considered, and rejected as unacceptable, a $100 payment plan at their meeting last week, after utility director Steve Shaw informed the board that the city had requested to make $100 per month payments, at least until their financial crisis was eased.
(Shaw confirmed Tuesday that city employee Jerry Riley did request, on behalf of the city, that a payment plan be negotiated on the $8,551 invoice. He also confirmed that Riley also asked if the city could pay $100 per month until their financial situation improved. Shaw stated that he told Riley that he would bring the matter before the IDA board at their Dec. 15 meeting.)
It was at that IDA meeting that the authority instructed Shaw and executive director Marvin White to negotiate an acceptable payment plan with Danielsville, maintaining that $100 per month was not a sufficient amount.
But, according to Danielsville’s press release, the city now says that it will pay the invoice on Jan. 9, 2009, and that “no negotiation is necessary in this regard, as the city continues to maintain its financial obligations even through these difficult times.”
Here is the entire context of a Nov. 27 article in The Journal that referenced the $8,551 water bill:
“The council also discussed an $8,551 water bill from the county’s industrial authority for one week’s worth of water used by the city during a recent water tank cleaning. The council was surprised by the bill, saying they have ‘exchanged water’ with the IDA in the past during tank cleanings. The council instructed city employee Jerry Riley to ask if the city can pay $100 per month until their financial situation improves.”
Mayor Glenn Cross said Monday that there has been a lot of confusion and miscommunication over the $8,551 invoice.
“I was thinking it was a week (that IDA/county water was used by Danielsville), but it was actually 21 days,” Cross told the council.
He added that the $100 per month payment plan suggestion was actually “just a joke – not serious.” He also called it a “mistake.”
Here is the city’s press release, on the matter, in its entirety: “The City of Danielsville would like to publicly respond to the recent miscommunication between the City and the Madison County Industrial Authority regarding water billing. As was quoted in the Dec. 18 issue of The Madison County Journal, Mr. Shaw stated after the meeting, that ‘Danielsville and the IDA had exchanged water without charging each other in the past during routine tank cleanings, as the city has stated.’ (Note: This sentence actually ended with “... but that a routine cleaning typically takes only a day or two to complete.”)
“The invoice in the amount of $8,551 sent to the city, without explanation, was quite unexpected. The city of Danielsville will be paying the invoice on Jan. 9, 2009, and at no point seriously considered a payment plan of $100 per month, a comment that was taken out of context and exaggerated. No negotiation is necessary in this regard, as the City continues to maintain its’ financial obligations even through these difficult times. City of Danielsville mayor and council.”
The city is in financial straits at the moment due to the discovery of considerably more than $56,000 allegedly stolen from city coffers by former long time city clerk, Michelle Dills. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation continues to look into the missing funds. The city hopes to recoup the funds from insurance once the investigation is complete, since Dills was a bonded employee.