By Carlee Edwards
A proposal was sent to the City of Lake Lotawana, from the Lake Lotawana Community Improvement District, including a development known as Foxberry Estates, requesting that the City serve as billing/collections agent for the CID sewer operations. The City served the CID in this capacity in the past, as recently as last year; however they now list several complications that come along with the accounting aspect of being the CID’s agent.
Among these complications were the fact that checks sent to Norman Gaar, the CID’s attorney of record, were not cashed in the allotted time, which brought complaints to the City; while the City was not responsible for cashing check, but merely keeping record of payments and mailing checks to Gaar. Another complaint of the City was receiving cash payments or “auto-draft” which would have to be entered into the City’s receipts and written out into checks. The City staff also claims that the CID cash and collections brings a liability risk to the City, in the event that checks go missing after they leave City Hall. Due to these complications, the City feels that it should no longer serve the CID as its billing and collections agent.
“In the past, since the CID was created, the City did the billing for zero charge up until last year,” Alderman Chris Jackson pointed out. Following this comment he pointed out that the majority of complaints and concerns by the City on the issue were due to the ‘learning curve’ of residents having to suddenly be responsible for something the City had always taken care of.
“A lot of people living in the CID didn’t know they were living in the CID when they moved in,” Jackson explained. “So it’s not the residents fault.”
Jackson feels that now that the matter is out in the open, and with sewage system of the CID being the same as the City it would only make sense for the City to take on the CID’s billing and collection.
“Why are we getting involved?” Alderman Doc Tilima said. “We’ve got our own priority list.”
Mayor Welsh pushed for a motion to be made for Jill to give the board an estimated cost of taking on the CID’s billing, but Jackson went ahead and made a motion for the City to simply take on the billing which was immediately second by Alderwoman Aholt.
The board was hesitant, wanting instead to figure out the cost. The motion was withdrawn.
Jackson was concerned that the numbers that would be brought before the Board would not accurately reflect the cost and the Board would turn down the proposition.
“This is why I have distain for this City,” Jackson said. “Cindy told me flat out that it only took her 2 hours to do the billing each month and was not at all a burden.”
“This seems petty to me,” Aholt said. “These people are a part of this City and they need our help.”
“It’s not our fault they moved there,” Mayor Welsh said.
No decision could be reached on the matter, with Jackson and Aholt adamantly siding with the City taking over CID’s billing and the rest of the Board standing firm on the idea that the CID should be responsible for themselves.