Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 23, 2014

Mount Union dilemma tops RUSS agenda

By TRISHA PHELPS | Jul 15, 2013

MOUNT PLEASANT (GTNS) – The Regional Utility Service Systems (RUSS) board of directors had an intense discussion about the developing situation in Mount Union during their monthly meeting Wednesday, trying to figure out what happens when the suit against them goes to court.

The hearing for the injunction filed by the city of Mount Union against RUSS was to begin at 2 p.m. today at the Henry County Courthouse.

“I guess bottom line is, what does Mount Union want?” asked Washington Supervisor Jack Seward Jr. “Do they want a bunch of money or what?”

“To be honest with you, I don’t know,” replied Executive Director Bruce Hudson. “It’s basically saying give me the cow and the milk and then you walk away.

“RUSS has taken out all of the risk,” Hudson continued. “We have taken out all of the bonds. We have worked and put in the system and managed the system. We operate the system. We give them service. It is basically saying — and not everyone, we do have a lot of people in Mount Union who are paying — give me service and give it to me for free. That’s where we are at.”

“What I read in the paper was that the paperwork that was signed to make the project go, they are disputing whether it was done lawfully and legally,” stated Seward.

“True,” replied Hudson.

“My question is, do they have a point? And your question back to me was ‘Who are they?’ I think that would be pretty obvious,” said Seward. “It is the people who are opposing, or the people who are responsible for the injunction.”

“All I can go on, because I wasn’t there, is their meeting minutes,” said Hudson. “In July, if we are going by what is stated in their minutes — the previous mayor handed out the 28E agreement to the city council which they reviewed. Questions were asked. It was at the time asked by Johnson, Ben Johnson, to have it sent to Rande McAllister for review.”

After being presented with the information, Seward stated that Mount Union’s point is arguable and wondered what that meant for RUSS.

“What would that mean to us, when they decide in court?” asked Seward.

“I don’t know,” replied Hudson. “We are looking at it from the stand point that if we thought we were going to lose, then we wouldn’t be fighting the suit.

“The facts from how I see it and everything that has been noted in the papers —and you have to get proof, which is what I have done — from their own meeting minutes, just to make sure that each side is being presented, is that we have document after document in our favor,” continued Hudson.

“To me it looks pretty cut and dried, but I am not a judge,” said Daryl Wood, supervisor from Keokuk County. “It’s too bad we had to get to where we are though, because everybody is losing at this point.”

In their annual meeting, Greg Moeller, Henry County supervisor, Bob Waugh, Van Buren County supervisor, and Jim Cary, Des Moines County supervisor, were elected to the RUSS finance committee.

Lee Dimmitt, Jefferson County supervisor, Wood, and Chris Ball, Louisa County supervisor, were elected to the policy committee.

Ernie Schiller, Lee County supervisor, Dimmitt, and Moeller were selected to be on the personnel committee.

It was determined that the executive board, consisting of Wood, chair; Schiller, vice chair, and Ball, secretary/treasurer, would be on the legal committee as well as the supervisor of whichever county is dealing with the legal action.

The board also:

• Heard an update form Jeremiah Selby, French-Reneker engineer.

• Discussed the publishing of the agenda and minutes in various newspapers.

• Discussed the attorney fee contract with Tim Roberts.

• Tabled the bond resolution changes.

• Discussed Argyle wastewater rehab.

• Discussed an update on the Mount Sterling project.

The next meeting will be held at 1 p.m. Aug. 14 at the Henry County Emergency Management Building.

 

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