Pay up or be shut off — RUSS resolution delivers an ultimatum
By TRISHA PHELPS
Mt. Pleasant News
People aren’t paying up, and the Regional Utilities Service Systems (RUSS) is getting fed up with it.
RUSS passed a resolution yesterday allowing them to send termination sewer service notices to RUSS users who are not paying their bills.
Resolution 21-13 authorizes RUSS executive director, Bruce Hudson, to terminate services to individual users that have an account 60 days or more past due and also fail to compensate after sufficient notice has been given.
In order to get the services turned back on, the resolution states that the individual user’s bill must be made current, this would include the amount due from the user, any other amount owed for sewer service at the time of reinstatement, the cost of installing a shut-off valve, cost of activating a shut-off valve and any other costs RUSS has reasonably incurred related to turning on or off the service for the individual user.
According to Hudson, a shut-off valve installation would cost approximately $1,000.
RUSS’ records state that Mt. Union is the only community RUSS is working with that is not paying its bill. Out of 62 users in Mt. Union, 45 are paying their bill, with only 17 users not paying. The 17 users have racked up an overdue balance of $24,264.64 as of June 13.
The new resolution states that “the RUSS board acknowledges some governmental entities with whom they have entered into 28E agreements have in the past, currently are or may in the future breach said 28E agreement.”
RUSS states in the resolution that governmental bodies that have failed to make compensation for the accounts which are 60 days overdue threatens the financial viability of the individual system and of the organization as a whole.
“This would be a blanket policy across the board for all 10 counties, because we all know that we don’t put policies and procedures for just one specific county, we try to put things in place for all the counties,” said Hudson. “This is only needed for those individuals, county or city that does not indemnify the 28E agreement in place.”
RUSS also approved, after going into closed session, a potential termination notice and final termination notice to send to users who are 60 days past due on their accounts.
In the potential termination notice, users are informed that if their account is current, they do not need to worry about a possible shut-off of their individual system.
“It may not have been in our original 28E agreement, but we want to do this,” said Hudson. “We need to collect what is owed.”
The board also:
• Heard update reports from engineering firms French-Reneker and Garden and Associates.
• Discussed Argyle wastewater rehab.
The next RUSS meeting will begin with their annual meeting to elect committee members and will then proceed into their regular meeting. It will be held at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, July 10, at the Henry County Emergency Management Building.