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The JCWSA & City of Monticello are intent on forming a Water Partnership

TAXPAYER’S WATCHDOG GROUP, INC.        April 9, 2005

 

ALERT!  CITY RESIDENTS BEWARE!  ACT NOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF!!  COUNTY RESIDENTS SHOULD GET THE FACTS TOO!

 

The  JCWSA & City of Monticello are intent on forming a Water Partnership.  After reading the 4/7/05 issue of the Monticello News about

JCWSA members endorsing an agreement that would have the City provide the Water Authority with services, we thought we’d check it out.  You’ll be glad we did, but YOU,

the Citizens, must be willing to do something now!  Attend the City Council meeting, Tuesday night, 7:30pm, April 12th at City Hall.  Here’s why--


The Monticello News reports that”
City services to the authority are to include: meter reading, monthly billing services, initial installation of water meters, repairs for water lines, and the collection and depositing of monthly water bill revenues.”

THE CONTRACT SAYS IT ALSO INCLUDES OPERATIONAL CONTROL of the JCWSA system by the City, “with the City Manager in control of all actions and responsibilities of the City in the performance of this Agreement.”  

The Monticello News also reports, “Brack Pound, of the JCWSA, explained that committee members had worked on the plan for three months.”  IF SO WHEN WERE THESE MEETINGS HELD AND WHY WEREN’T THEY OPEN TO THE PUBLIC For some reason whenever contracts are involved, the JCWSA wants secrecy.

 

 

The News also says, “The agreement will appear before the city council next Tuesday for final approval.” 

This is without any public input or any public knowledge of what could happen, how it will happen, and any consequences that could come about.  Also, it is NOT on the agenda to be discussed as was published.  This is an item that the public should be aware of.  We feel it will be a violation of Open Meetings to proceed with this agreement without any notification to the public that it is being considered.

 

Another interesting item is the Monticello News reports that, “ Services are slated to take effect May 1 with an initial five-year term.”  The CONTRACT SAYS IT WILL BE FOR 25 YEARS!! NOT 5 YEARS!

 

WHY SHOULD YOU BE CONCERNED??
HERE’S  A FEW REASON’S WHY:

**It was done in secret

 

**It appears the JCWSA attorney, W. Dan Roberts, wrote it.  He also reviewed the Bear Creek Reservoir agreement and saw nothing wrong with it.

 

**It’s for 25 years with no dissolution clause, meaning the City can’t get out of it and neither can the JCWSA.

 

**With the track record of the City and the way it manages money, would it be a good idea for them to collect the money, pay the bills, and manage the finances? The contract says the City will do all these things.

**The contract talks about the City operating the system for the JCWSA.  The City can hardly operate their own system now—continued sewage spills; sewage backing up in houses; lines in need of repair, etc.  And they will now operate 2 systems? With one outside the City limits.

 

**A coordinating committee will insure the performance of the agreement. The committee will also “review all financial and operational matters.” Not the City Council, not the JCWSA.  But a committee they appoint.  This means YOU have no voice—this will be done by people that are NOT elected.

 

**The way the City is to be compensated will be laid out in Appendix A of the agreement—which doesn’t exist at this time.  It will be decided AFTER the agreement is signed. Then what?  What if it is more than the JCWSA can afford?  Who signs agreements without knowing the cost first?  Only people in Jasper County (again think of Bear Creek Reservoir agreement—we were to pay Newton County 25% of whatever they said the cost was.)

 

**The JCWSA has at least $2.4 million in debt.  They also have less than 200 customers.  Who is going to be responsible for the bond debt if the City is to operate the JCWSA system?  The contract states, “City personnel shall operate the Authority’s water distribution system.” 

 

**JCWSA received a grant of approximately $1.7 million.  They have debt of approximately $2.4 million.  They used this money to run approximately 35 miles of line and picked up about 180 customers.  180 customers will NOT pay the bond payments on the $2.4 million.  Who will if they can’t?  The City water users? The City property owners?  Will the County be responsible for anything?

 

YOU MUST GET INVOLVED!  CALL YOUR COUNCIL PERSON AND ASK THEM TO DELAY THIS VOTE UNTIL ALL THE FACTS ARE KNOWN AND THE PEOPLE KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON AND HAVE ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS.

 

WHY IS THERE A RUSH TO DO THIS ALL OF A SUDDEN?  AND WHEN AND WHERE WAS ALL THIS DONE?  WHY WAS IT DONE OUT OF

THE “SUNSHINE” AND BEHIND CLOSED DOORS? 

 

THESE QUESTIONS MUST BE ANSWERED BEFORE THIS IS VOTED ON BY THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL TUESDAY NIGHT.  ATTEND THE MEETING AND VOICE YOUR OPPOSITION!!

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