UPDATE: Lawrenceburg City Council Settles $1 Million LMU Payment

After two months of heated discussions, the Lawrenceburg City Council has decided to take it upon themselves to pay the invoice.

(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) - The Lawrenceburg City Council made a long-awaited financial decision last night.

After months of deliberation, the 4th and Front Street Pole Project was settled on.

The project that totals a little over $1 million will be paid by the city, which was unanimously voted on by city council on Monday. 

Paul Seymour Jr. motioned to come up with additional appropriation to pay this invoice, rather than the rate payers.

The discussion was brought up during old business. 

Seymour Jr. wanted to bring up the situation from having it tabled from the past meeting. 

He says, "I know there was some type of agreement or negotiation on the bill, and then we were going to talk about it, and then we tabled it. I'd like to scratch that off the list if we can. Make a vote. Get it done. Questions? Thoughts?"

The situation started getting sorted out, by getting updated on what was done, and what still needed to clarified. 

Mayor Kelly Mollaun proceeded to ask for the work logs from utility accountant, Collin Browning.

Browning stated that he did have all of the time sheets that were signed from Sargent Electric, the company that staffed this project. 

Mollaun wanted to know if anyone else had any questions. 

Council member Tony Abbott asked where the funds would come from, and asked if there were any in the budget that they could use. 

Richard Richardson made it clear that there are no funds in the budget and that to pay the invoice it would need to be an additional appropriation.

Aaron Cook continues to go off the topic of the pole project and talking about the 2019 Budget and how it had some standing issues with it. 

Paul Seymour Jr. goes into talking about how the council would handle past situations, saying, "In the years past, and I know this has nothing to do with our administration, and I don't know why we would do any business any different. If we have a project, we should, if we have a project that doesn't have anything to do with utilities, and I can't imagine us just having a project and taking that, and I'm just going to use this number... $1 million even, and taking it from our rate payers." 

 At this point, Seymour goes on with making it clear that it was done, and now it needs to be taken care of. "We need to make our utilities whole again, and that's making us whole again." 

Seymour then motioned to use additional appropriations instead of using the rate payers. 

Richardson tells us that the line that we would use to pay this invoice currently has about $400,000. The additional appropriation would pay the rest of the bill of $1,050,000.

Right as the board was voting on the motion, Abbott stopped the voting to talk about the legality of the transfer of funds and work logs. 

Mayor Mollaun stated that the work logs would be audited so that would not be an issue. The only issue that could arise would be the legality of the transfer, being improper funding of city project through utility ratepayer money.

Seymour raised the question of, "Why couldn't those utility poles sit there the next 10 years?"

Tony Abbott responded by stating that the poles were getting ran over by semi-trucks. 

When asked why the one pole wasn't replaced, he said "just for it to get ran over again?"

Mayor Mollaun clarified that the $1,050,000 did not include the one pole that was constantly getting hit. The invoice strictly includes the extra work that was put into the project. 

As the board started to vote of on the motion, the voting was stopped again. 

The main issue that was had by the council was the time sheets and to make sure they are correct. 

Browning explained that the time sheets Mollaun received, were the same time sheets that were given 2 months ago.

Frustration was apparent from Lawrenceburg Municipal Utilities Director, Olin Clawson. He asked, "Along with all the other work we do on behalf of the city that we don't charge, why would we be motivated to try to get one up on you, here?"

Browning went back and said that the file included, Sargent's Invoice, time sheets, and approval of their supervisor and Mike Harper. 

The motion by Paul Seymour Jr. was stated one last time.

Ultimately, the motion by Paul Seymour Jr. was passed by the council members.

 

Discussion starts at: 36:45 

 

 

RELATED STORIES:

$1.3M Utility Pole Project Explained; City, LMU Appear Ready To Settle It At $1M

Election Opponent, LMU Director & Former Councilman Question L'burg Mayor's Sewer Pump Purchase

LMU Tent, Financial Allegations Break Down Into War Of Words

$1.3M For A Utility Pole Unleashes Firestorm Between L'burg Administration, Utility Director

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