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Mt.  Union residents trying to prevent installation of valves

Jun 27, 2013
Photo by: Trisha Phelps Some Mt. Union residents are parking vehicles over their septic tank covers to prevent shut-off valves being placed. The Regional Utilities Service System (RUSS) has threatened to put shut-off valves on the septic tanks of those residents who have delinquent accounts with the utility.


Mt. Pleasant News

MT. UNION — Some residents in Mt. Union, upset with Regional Utility Service Systems (RUSS), are now taking matters into their own hands.

Several residents have parked vehicles over their septic tanks, owned by RUSS, in an attempt to ensure that RUSS cannot install a shut-off valve on their tank.

On June 12, 2013, RUSS passed a resolution allowing them to send termination sewer service notices to RUSS users who are not current on their account.

The resolution would authorize RUSS executive director, Bruce Hudson, to terminate services to individual users with a 60-day-or-more past due balance.

RUSS’s records state that Mt. Union is the only community RUSS is working with that is not paying its bill. Of 62 users in Mt. Union, 17 were not paying their bills, racking up an overdue balance of $24,264.64 as of June 13.

Since the termination letters have been sent, RUSS officials have reported that one user has come forward and is working with RUSS on getting their account current.

While the situation between RUSS and Mt. Union is still developing, some more information has come to light.

In an affidavit to the injunction that was filed by the City of Mt. Union June 20, with Henry County District Court, city council member Ben Johnson stated that he was present at the Aug. 6, 2008, Mt. Union City Council meeting in which a 28E agreement between RUSS and Mt. Union was discussed.

According to the minutes of the August 2008 meeting, Johnson was listed as absent.

In Johnson’s affidavit, he states that the August 2008 meeting was the first time the council had seen the proposed 28E agreement.

The July 2, 2008, Mt. Union City Council minutes state that “Mayor (Dan) Johnson passed out the joint agreement with RUSS,” and a motion was made by Ben Johnson to have the agreement reviewed by Attorney Rande McAllister.

It was previously reported that corrections had been made to the minutes of the August meeting saying that the mayor distributed copies of the 28E agreement and it was voted on and approved to have the agreement reviewed by legal counsel. However, the corrections were to be for the July minutes, not the August minutes. The correction was made in August, and that is why it appeared in the August minutes.

A letter dated July 5, 2008, from then-mayor Dan Johnson to McAllister shows that council member Ben Johnson recommended McAlister review the 28E agreement between RUSS and Mt. Union, which is over a month before Ben Johnson’s affidavit claims he first saw the 28E agreement.

According to the affidavit, Ben Johnson claims that the council had not had an opportunity to have the document reviewed by legal council and therefore they did not approve the agreement at the August 2008 meeting.

A letter dated July 11, 2008, from RUSS’s attorney at the time, Paul Zingg, to McAllister, addresses some of the concerns that the city council allegedly had with the 28E agreement.

The August 2008 Mt. Union City council meeting states that a motion was made and seconded to sign the agreement with RUSS, and that the motion passed.


Comments (2)
Posted by: Steve Wilson | Jun 27, 2013 19:56

I guess Ron Osborne needed to be there taping the meetings didn't he?  

Posted by: Steve Wilson | Jun 27, 2013 23:46

The Board of Health has raised the specter of evictions of Mt. Union residents if RUSS decides to go back on the 28E agreement they signed with the city of Mt. Union's previous Mayor Dan Johnson and if RUSS successfully digs up sewer lines (without a city permit) and if RUSS, in violation of the 28E agreement, shuts off sewer service to residents who are delinquent on their payments and if those residents cannot come up with some other way to safely and legally dispose of their sewage and if the attempt to get an injunction against RUSS by the City of Mt. Union fails. 

I wonder, are portable toilets an option?

So what is needed? As from the start, deliberate, transparent, comprehensive negotiations between RUSS and the City of Mt. Union and the Supervisor(s).

What is going to happen? It looks to me like they are all on their way to court.

And from there, what ever the cure, the overall costs to the residents of county goes up.


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