Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 24, 2014

Wapello County wants out of the box

By Trisha Phelps | Dec 17, 2012

MT. PLEASANT — “We’re in a box. There’s no way out.” That is how Greg Kinning, supervisor from Wapello County, expressed his feelings about trying to get his county out of the Regional Utility Service Systems (RUSS).
According to RUSS’ 28E agreement, the only way for a county to leave RUSS would be for that county to meet with each of the county board of supervisors comprising RUSS and then have a unanimous vote of the RUSS board for the county to leave.
At the March 2010 RUSS board meeting, the supervisors voted to let Davis County out of RUSS. At the time Davis County was released, it was not realized that the proper procedures did not occur.
“We met with the attorney. The process of letting Davis County out of RUSS was done wrong,” explained Bruce Hudson, executive director of RUSS. “This should have been done by each individual county board of supervisors and then brought back to the RUSS board. The RUSS board doesn’t have the authority on its own to allow a county out and so as of today we will be sending out an invoice to Davis County acknowledging the past dues owed.”
Davis County’s previous release date was effective in July of 2010. The past dues owed comes to a total of $19,000.
Now Wapello County wants out of RUSS and is looking at arbitration proceedings.
“I guess outside of meeting with every individual board of supervisors in this organization, there is no way out. There is no way to resolve this,” said Kinning. “I guess the arbitration will be it. I’m not certain where it will go. Arbitration is generally something where one side gives up one thing and the other side gives up the other thing. I’m not sure the executive board of this organization has that power.”
With Wapello County and now Davis County owing past dues, leaving RUSS gets slightly more complicated.
“We are looking at two things,” said Hudson. “We are looking at the disputes of the dues plus you are looking at someone wanting out of the organization.”
If Davis and Wapello counties aren’t satisfied with trying to leave RUSS using the 28E agreement, going to each county and asking to leave, Hudson says the next option would be to take the issue to court.
“The arbitration, I think, would be more of the past dues and once that is addressed then you would take the two counties, probably at the same time and figure out whether or not they are allowed out. That is something we would have to work out through the court system,” said Hudson.
The board also:
Approved a $5,000 raise for Hudson, and a four percent raise for Hudson and RUSS employees on July 1, 2013.
Agreed to start advertising for a new employee.
Discussed hiring French-Reneker to put together a Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) for Argyle to address community sewer issues. The discussion was tabled.

The next meeting will be Wednesday, Jan. 9, at 1 p.m. at the Henry County Emergency Management Building.

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