County pays unexpected bills

Published 5:54 pm Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The Troup County Commission approved a budget amendment Tuesday to pay two overdue bills, including a water bill the commission believed the city of LaGrange had agreed to pay.

The unanimous vote approved a $57,950 payment for water use at the Calumet splash pad and a fuel payment for Troup Transit buses. 

The county no longer uses City of LaGrange fuel for the buses, but the Calumet Water Park, which was built in 2014, sees regular use during the summer. According to City of LaGrange records, the county had paid the water bill for the park from 2014 until 2017.

“In their last audit, they caught it [at the city],” County Manager Eric Mosley said. “That is when they sent it to us.”

According to county staff, the outstanding fuel bill was the result of an oversite, while the water bill was for years of use and was the result of a misunderstanding over who was meant to cover the cost of water for the park. 

Commissioner Richard English asked about an agreement for the city to pay for the water that had been discussed around the time of time of the park’s construction. Mosley said that there was not a signed formal agreement.

According to Commission Chairman Patrick Crews, it was his understanding that the former county manager and former city manager had agreed that the city would cover the cost of the water if the park used fresh water instead of recycled water.

“I think it was a gentlemen’s agreement between Tod [Tentler as county manager] and Tom [Hall as city manager] that if we used fresh water at the park then they would not charge us for the water,” Crews said. “So, we made the decision to use fresh water rather than putting in a recycling system. There is no written agreement to that, and it has come into question. It appears that we need to pay that bill to satisfy, since we have no way to back up our claim that it was a handshake agreement.”

However, the City of LaGrange reported Wednesday that it was unaware of any such agreement. Tentler retired last year, and Hall passed away in 2016.

The board of commissioners voted to pay the outstanding balance, but several voiced dissatisfaction with the miscommunication over the bill.

“We disagree with it, but we are going to pay it,” Commissioner Lewis Davis said. 

Commissioner Morris Jones suggested that the county review fees charged for use of county water parks at a future date, and Mosley said that a fee structure could be discussed through the Troup County Parks and Recreation Commission. If a fee were to be set, it would likely be set as a consistent amount for water parks in West Point, Hogansville and LaGrange. According to Troup County Parks and Recreation Director Lance Dennis, West Point and Hogansville both supply water for their own parks, without a charge to the county.

Other items covered on Tuesday included:

  • The Troup County Board of Commissioners approved the purchase of a used MowerMax Boom in order to trim back growth. The members of the board of commissioners said they hoped the new equipment would make it possible to clear brush that has raised concerns for citizens.
  • The board approved a memorandum of understanding for the Mobis PILOT bond. The memorandum previously passed at both the Troup County Board of Education and the Hogansville City Council.
  • The board approved a beer and wine application for LaGrange Marathon on Roanoke Road. The location previously had a beer and wine license, but an approval was necessary to reflect new ownership.