Hamilton County Commission recessed meeting -- Oct. 28, 2008
Hamilton County Commission agenda session -- Oct. 28, 2008
Unless the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority hands over information requested by County Commissioner Curtis Adams, the commission will vote next week on whether to force it to do so, Mr. Adams said.
“I don’t plan to give up on it,” he told the commission Tuesday.
Mr. Adams, on behalf of an East Ridge citizens’ group, has requested information on legal fees paid to attorney John Anderson, who also serves as East Ridge city attorney. Mr. Adams received 93 pages of legal bills showing the amount Mr. Anderson has been paid but with the reasons for those payments blacked out, Mr. Adams said.
Authority board Chairman Henry Hoss said he met Friday with Mr. Adams and County Attorney Rheubin Taylor and offered to discuss the legal fees with each commissioner.
“I shared with them that our legal counsel bills us at $250 per hour and provided them with three months of invoices,” Mr. Hoss said. “Commissioner Adams agreed to this course of action on Friday, and I was disappointed to hear that he had reversed his decision.”
Mr. Hoss said the authority is considering what to do next and hopes to resolve the issue amicably.
Commissioner Richard Casavant wondered why the commission needed Mr. Anderson’s itemized bills.
“We’re not negotiating with North Korea here,” he said. “We should be working with this body.”
Dr. Casavant said he thought the records were for “a local squabble.”
But Commissioner John Allen Brooks said it didn’t matter why the commission needed the records. It is its legal right to obtain them, he said.
“I am not against the WWTA,” Mr. Brooks said. “I’m not against sewers. But what I am against is this stonewalling.”
According to state law, the authority has seven days to respond to requests for public records.
If the authority does not respond to the resolution, the commission may have to take the authority to court, Mr. Adams said. He also pointed out that the authority owes the county $6.5 million, which the commission provided as a loan when it formed the authority in 1993.
County Finance Administrator Louis Wright said the County Commission stipulated when the authority was founded that it would not request repayment of that loan as long as the authority kept building sewers in the county.