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February 19, 2013

Black Brook audit cites utility deficit

(Continued)

LAWSUIT

Jay Town Supervisor Randy Douglas said the litigation was not initiated by his town; the dispute was over shared billing for hours worked by the chief sewer-plant operator.

“The only time we withheld payment was in 2011, and their financial woes stemmed back to 2009,” he said.

“Since the Town of Jay has become the lead agency, we have had to pay for numerous issues (in the sewer system). In addition to the cost of a lawsuit and necessary repairs, it (the plant) now runs efficiently.”

Douglas said Jay disputed the hours that the chief plant operator worked, with his town being billed for its share of someone putting in four to six hours of work time daily. A closed-circuit television camera recorded as few as 30 minutes spent at the plant on many days, he said.

Aubin said those problems have been corrected.

“We met with Town of Jay to try to resolve that and go over bills. It’s unfortunate. We don’t want to fight over something like this.”

Douglas said he also did not want to be at odds with Black Brook representatives.

“We help them out all the time. We’re neighboring towns.”

Some of it comes down to Black Brook not wanting to increase costs that many residents could not afford, Aubin said.

“We were looking at handling the problem without raising fees. The comptroller’s report was accurate — we weren’t charging enough. We believe we are now.”

Email Lohr McKinstry: lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com

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