Resolution reassures RUSS
The Washington County Board of Supervisors held a public hearing and then approved a resolution pertaining to the Regional Utility Service Systems (RUSS) and the Rubio sanitary sewer project during the board’s meeting Tuesday morning.
Before the resolution was approved unanimously, incoming supervisor Jack Seward Jr. asked why the current board was making a decision when the makeup of the board will change on Jan. 2.
“It appears we’re going to be backed into a corner on it and have apparently no choice in it,” Seward said. “So for this reason I’m asking if the dates are accurate in here and No. 2, I’m again asking for the good of the board going forward that you delay a decision on this.”
Seward also asked why the “die by date” of Dec. 31, 2013 was established. The “die by date” was specified in the Amended and Substituted Joint Agreement for the Erection, Maintenance and Operation of Plants and Systems for Sanitary Sewer Services. According to the agreement, Washington County would have to immediately reimburse RUSS $193,000 for planning costs if the county did not issue the project note by Dec. 31, 2013.
After Seward made his remarks, board chairman Jim Miksch invited RUSS executive director Bruce Hudson to come forward and sit at the table in front of the board.
Miksch said, “On some of those concerns, Mr. Seward, is that RUSS has expended money on behalf of our project in Rubio and concern raised on whether or not this project is going to go forward and RUSS has an obligation to protect themselves and we, as a member of RUSS, would want him to do that, I think. So I think that’s the reason for the Dec. 31 deadline is they want to make sure this is absolutely covered that they are going to be able to get from the county the money they’ve spent on behalf of the county.”
Seward asked if the county is not already obligated to move forward based on the 28E agreement between RUSS and the county.
“Why do you think that Washington county wouldn’t pay for what’s being done?” Seward asked.
Hudson said that RUSS wanted some assurance the expenses would be repaid by the county.
Another document approved was a project note.
Miksch said, “The project note clarifies that, makes it absolutely clear that we do have that obligation.”
Miksch said the supervisors have not approved a project note for Rubio as they did for the Richmond project.
Seward again asked about the need for the Dec. 31 deadline, but added that he didn’t need that question answered right now.
David Rosen of Residents of a Better Richmond said, “We are not accepting this and we’ll doing everything within our power to prevent this from happening to us.”
At that point, Hudson said, “These problems will not go away. Walking away from this project is going to be expensive and you will have no results.”
County attorney Larry Brock said that up until now, the county had not obligated funds to pay for the expenses of the Rubio project. He said RUSS wants to make sure the expenses are repaid.
The supervisors also suggested that department heads look at a 2 percent increase on the bottom line and a 2 percent salary increase to county employees, except for the county sheriff and his deputy and the county attorney and his deputy. Their salary increase was a suggested 2.5 percent increase. The supervisors approved a motion that will keep their salaries without a raise.