Facts are Stubborn Things–A Conversation between the Commissioners and JCWSA

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” –John Adams

The ongoing request for money to support, bail out, or help the JCWSA continued at the BOC meeting Tuesday night (5/21/13).  For almost an hour there was discussion with both Comm. Trammell and Comm. Salmon participating in and leading the discussion.  Comm. Trammell is the former Chair of the JCWSA while Comm. Salmon was the Treasurer of the JCWSA.

In December, before these 2 men officially became commissioners, they informed the JCWSA board that “that they would not be able to vote on water authority issues for the next year because of ethics.”  The following video was recorded while Mr. Trammell was speaking.

Comm. Pennamon called the meeting to order and said the meeting with JCWSA was to clear up misconceptions and confusion about balance JCWSA says is due from the county.

Mary Alice Carter, Chair of JCWSA and an employee of County Attorney Jim Alexander, addressed the BOC and told them the amount due was $52,185.42 (down from $94,000 plus a couple of meetings back).  Comm. Trammell asked her to address the issue of resolution. Ms. Carter said, “This is collateral on the loan” and added that it was “worded inappropriately from what was intended.”

Comment—The wording is not what JCWSA wants to hear so therefore it wasn’t really intended to say what it says.  This is a copy of that resolution that the JCWSA says is valid, but only the parts they like are valid.  The other parts are not worded appropriately!  Please note the highlighting.  You can click on the document to make it larger.HydrantRes

The county attorney said the fire district tax was authorized in 2009 and taxes were collected in 2010.  In answer to comments and questions, the attorney said [in 2009] “everyone on both sides knew nothing was going to be paid.”

Comm. Salmon said he had researched all this extensively for several years.  He gave an overview and then said he thought the BOC took care of this last year by approving an extra $2.99 on the tax assessment to go against the back amounts due.

Mark Walton, Secretary for JCWSA, then got up and spoke.  He admitted that JCWSA keeps borrowing money and that sooner or later they will not be able to make payments ($10,000+ a month) on their USDA note.  He told the BOC that JCWSA would like a resolution going forward between the BOC and JCWSA that would make everything “hunky dory until 2045.” He said it would be the “only way we could ever make our notes.”

Comment—Remember, the money from the “resolution” and fire tax district is supposed to be for hydrant maintenance, but as TWG has always said it is not used for maintenance, it is used to pay the USDA on the debt incurred to run water lines to every proposed subdivision possible from 2004-2008.

At present JCWSA is getting more from the fire district tax ($46,000+ per year) than they would from the “hydrant resolution”, but continue to say the BOC owes them money.

After Mr. Walton presented the JCWSA case for 20 minutes, Lorri Smith went over the figures from 2005 – present.  She handed out a summary sheet showing $213,819.42 had been billed for JCWSA, $850.73 had been adjusted, and $204,565.42 had been collected.  The current outstanding amount as of 4/30/13 was $8,403.27 per the tax commissioner’s records.   She also emphasized repeatedly that the BOC owes JCWSA nothing because all this money is paid directly to JCWSA by the tax commissioner.  Ms. Smith said that JCWSA should show $8403.27 on their books as Taxes Receivable and write off the rest.

Ms. Smith added that the BOC did not assess a tax in 2009 and the resolution clearly states that the tax is subject to annual appropriation by the BOC.  Mr. Walton disagreed and said 2009 money was still owed to the JCWSA.  Comm. Pennamon then read the last paragraph of the resolution stating that the assessment was “subject to annual review and appropriation.”  See highlights on Resolution above.


Mr. Walton again disagreed and Comm. Pennamon asked what he didn’t understand.  Mr. Walton said “that was just an interpretation.”  He also said he didn’t care how the county paid, but the BOC “did not have the right not to pay them.”

Lorri Smith ended the conversation with the statement, “This is not owed by the BOC.”

The BOC will set the tax rate for the fire district tax at the June 3rd meeting for tax bills due in September and December.

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One Response to Facts are Stubborn Things–A Conversation between the Commissioners and JCWSA

  1. Lynn Short says:

    Well done!

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