RUSS board, director attempt to clear up confusion over invoice
By TRISHA PHELPS
Mt. Pleasant News
Regional Utility Service System (RUSS) board member Jack Seward had some questions at Wednesday’s RUSS board meeting.
Seward’s questions regarded the short term loan Washington County had from RUSS for funding the Richmond and Rubio projects that are no longer going to happen.
“Were you going to bring up to the board the letters sent back and forth between Washington County and RUSS?” Seward asked RUSS executive Director Bruce Hudson during the meeting.
“I can,” Hudson replied. “We received a letter from Ron Bennett, who is no longer there (due to health reasons), questioning why we enacted the 60-days. On the project note, it states it will come due in Jan. 2014, so I sent out an invoice on July 23 and enacted the 60 days for collection from that invoice.
“According to the project note,” continued Hudson, “once we give notification of the invoice, we can then move the maturity date up to within 60 days. So that’s what I did.”
According to Seward, Hudson gave the impression at a meeting in April that the bill for Washington County would not be due on the loans until January, and so the 60-day notice caught the Washington County Board of Supervisors off guard.
“You weren’t allowing us much time for review is my point,” said Seward. “I expected that when you told us in April that the SRF loan wasn’t going to be due until January that you would back it up 60 days from then and we wouldn’t expect something that said ‘this is your total due’ until October. I was expecting that from the end of April, May, June and July that we could review what you are going to charge us and make sure that yes it is good and then we could pay it.
“It was my pledge to you,” continued Seward, “that once we were able to review what we had and we agreed that this was all above board and everything is good that we would pay and it wouldn’t be a problem, but now that you have given this 60-day deal we don’t have much time to review anything.”
“I was just going off the project note,” said Hudson. “It says in the contract that if it is not constructed that we could bring the maturity date up to 60 days.”
“Right, and I asked that question,” said Seward, “ I asked either in March or in April, because I brought my copy of the bi-laws along and asked if this means you are going to invoke this and you said ‘No, we will probably send you a letter in October because that would be 60 days from when it was due.’ I thought that would be fine because then we would have time to make sure that all the charges are properly made.”
“I’m looking at the contract,” replied Hudson. “I’m not saying that I can’t look at the board and the board say that they want to give Washington County an extension. That’s their decision.”
Ernie Schiller, supervisor from Lee County, asked Seward if Washington County had received all of the invoices, and Seward responded that he had not received them.
“The previous board got them,” said Hudson. “They received them in June, right before the fall meeting of last year. They have the invoices. It was one of the meetings I was at where I said that you guys need to decide if these projects are going to move forward because it was costing the project money. That was the last time I handed you guys invoices. If you want them all again that’s fine, it just takes a lot of manpower and invoices to keep printing them out.”
“When we got the letter, all the letter said was enclosed is a spreadsheet of what you owe,” said Seward.
At the end of the discussion, the board agreed to print out all of the invoices for Washington County and get them to the Washington County auditor so that they had time to review the charges before next meeting and Seward would give them an update then on the progress.
The board also:
• Heard an engineering report from French-Reneker engineer Kent Rice on current projects.
• Discussed setting a due date for county operational dues.
• Discussed and agreed to give the executive board authority to make any and all decision regarding the Mt. Union litigation matters.
• Named the Mt. Pleasant News as the legal newspaper for the organization.
The next RUSS meeting will be Wednesday, Sept. 11, at 1 p.m. at the Henry County Emergency Management Building.