Greenwood Mayor Attempts To Repeal The City Code For Adjusting Sewer Bills
August 30, 2014
By Carlee Edwards,
An ordinance was proposed to repeal section 705.081 called ‘Adjustments to Sewer Bill’ during the Greenwood Board of Alderman meeting Tuesday night, August 26.
The ordinance in question serves as a policy for making adjustments to citizens’ sewer bills in cases that are justified by mechanical failures such as leaking faucets, broken pipes, vandalism, underwater service line breaks, ect. or billing errors.
“This particular code was created several years ago,” Mayor Megee said. “To my knowledge this city has absolutely no evidence that this particular code has ever been used by a city employee or elected official.”
As reason for repealing the code, Mayor Megee claimed that the city has no intent on following this code and has in fact, been following another path for years. Do to the code’s uselessness, the Mayor called for it to be repealed.
“What’s wrong with it?” Alderman Kerry Fulton asked. He brought up the point that the ordinance is a well laid out and a good policy to follow. “If we totally repeal the ‘Adjustments to Sewer Bill’ we have no policy on how to make adjustments to sewer bills.”
Discussion followed that revealed the true motivation behind Mayor Megee’s desire to be rid of the code. This past spring it was brought to light in an article published by the Lee’s Summit Tribune on May 9, 2014 that several city employees had their sewer bills adjusted in amounts that ranged from $100 to over $200. In 41 pages of receipts, nine residences, several of them being city employees, were noticed by the Lee’s Summit Tribune to be questionable and had total adjustments made of $1,639.30. The reasons for these adjustments were unclear, but Mayor Megee’s signature signed off every single one.
Mayor Megee tried to defend his reasons for not ‘using’ this ordinance by explaining that he doesn’t know every code that the city uses and had not known about this code until last spring.
“I certainly didn’t know about this particular code until it was brought to my attention via a local newspaper. In a scathing article that suggested that something was amiss in Greenwood,” Megee said, eluding to the heart of his intentions. He claimed that this issue conveniently became a huge deal right before the elections in April 2014.
“This is a trash code,” Megee declared strongly. “This code should never be used to hurt anyone ever again.”
“It seems like a reasonable ordinance,” Alderman Fulton simply stated. Alderman Cover agreed and asked who exactly would be hurt if the policy is meant to help people with their sewer bills.
“I’m asking for this to be repealed because there’s absolutely no evidence that since April 14 2008 that this code has been followed by anyone, elected official or city employee,” Megee responded adamantly, "Most all receipts the Lee’s Summit Tribune received were dated after the year 2008.
“Which code will we use?” Alderman Cover asked. He and Fulton pressed the Mayor for information on what code will replace the one in question.
“I don’t want to replace it with any code!” the Mayor declared. “We don’t need to replace it!”
“You have a policy but it’s just a known policy?” Alderman Cover continued to press. “Is it written down somewhere? And if it is let’s see it because it’s got to be pretty close to this.”
Mayor Megee could not specifically say where this other policy is, claiming that not all policies the city uses are written down. He claimed the policy the city truly uses was discussed during the April 8, 2014 regular session and the utility supervisor explained to the board that the discussion of that policy is written in the April 8, 2014 minutes.
Instead of answering anymore of Fulton and Cover’s questions, Megee cut them off and called for a vote.
Alderman Cover immediately and firmly voted ‘No’ while Alderman Mike Harrell hesitated before saying “I’ll go with ‘Aye’” and Alderman Levi Weaver followed with the same hesitance but voted ‘Aye’ as well. Alderman Fulton chose to abstain, which caused the motion to fail as explained by the city attorney.
“I’d like to see the written policy,” Fulton said after the vote. “You bring that and I’ll change my vote.”
NOTE; Mayor Megee alleges this to be the scathing article that the Tribune wrote.
Please note the date: May 9, 2014. This was written a month after the election.
City Of Greenwood Sewer Adjustment Documents Don’t Smell Right
Video is available in the Tribune archives.