Utility Authority to use same program as city for billing

Published 12:42 am Sunday, October 18, 2009

Utility Authority to use same program as city for billing

By Jeremy Pittari/Item Staff Writer

Funds owed to the Pearl River County Utility Authority from the City of Picayune are still under investigation.

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Utility Authority board president Steve Lawler said at the agency’s Thursday afternoon meeting in Picayune that AccuFund is doing an investigation of a problem that is keeping the city back from sending funds to the Utility Authority. The problem appears to be due to a lack of a qualified computer technician at the city to determine what is causing a problem with the software or the hardware that handles the city’s utility billing.

Lawler said the company perfuming the investigation, AccuFund, is not having any problems getting answers from the City, which is cooperating fully. The only problem is that the Utility Authority will have to wait until the investigation is complete to collect on funds that are owed to it. Lawler hopes to get an update on the amount of money that will be by next week.

While Lawler does not have verification, he believes the city is having a problem reconciling receivables with collections.

“To me that’s an issue the city definitely needs to address and I think they will,” Lawler said.

The Utility Authority also approved a motion to order the same billing system the city is using and have it installed and working. Lawler said if the Utility Authority is successful in operating the system, the city might start getting reimbursed by the Utility Authority, instead of the other way around. Utilizing this new program most likely will entail the Utility Authority havaing to hire additional staff, Lawler said. The same billing process would be used in Poplarville as well.

A chemical is being discharged into the city’s waste water system in the Industrial park area, and an investigation is ongoing. The chemical is believed to be some sort of automotive liquid, possibly transmission fluid, said Utility Authority Engineer Brooks Wallace. The chemical in the sewer system puts off a strong odor and is causing damage to the sewage pump in the area. An investigation is underway to find out exactly what the chemical is and where it is coming from.

In other business the Utility Authority;

— Approved a resolution to offer just compensation to purchase utility line easements for the Poplarville regional waste water project.

— Approved a motion to extend the office sublease between the authroity and Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens and Cannada for another year. The building is used as the Utility Authority’s office, and is located in the Picayune Industrial park. The lease rental rate is $300 a month and will take effect on Nov. 1.

The next meeting of the Utility Authority will be Nov. 5, at 2 p.m. at the Picayune City Hall.