The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Gladstone Trustees Talk More On Unpaid Bills

Feb. 9, 2009 - 6 p.m.

Gladstone trustees gathered for their second monthly meeting of 2009 where they are debating over unpaid and questioned flood bills for FEMA.

All trustees were present including Jim Hetrick, Mike Hopkins, Jr. Bielser, Byron Sebastian, Darlene Manes, and Flo Stewart.

Also present was Clerk Joyce Hetrick and Mayor Rex McKinney, and 25 guests.

Mayor Rex McKinney addressed minor water issues brought up by Jim Hetrick and there was discussion with Donnie Olson.

Matt Gray's bill for water hook up at Happy Rock Carwash, was the first thing on the agenda.

Mayor Rex McKinney, said:

"Myself I think that he got a new business, and he had to go though the flood, and he just opened up, and went a couple months without doing any business,

"I, myself think we ought to have an ordinance to where we can give somebody a bill before, instead of after. And it's up to the board to decide what they want to do about it, but I kinda of like to see the board waive the good business since he is new and stuff."

This brought opposition from the floor. Trustee Mike Hopkins asked "How's that fair to everybody else who's paid to have it hooked up the last ten or twelve years?"

Trustee Jim Hetrick said, "The thing of it is, he came to me last month when I gave him a bill and I've known Matt Gray for twenty-five or thirty years. He knew exactly what was on the bill. I didn't do it very professional," he admitted, but, " I showed him exactly what it cost the village. I didn't charge him a dime more than what the village paid. The check numbers are on everyone of those first bills."

Hetrick went on to say that after last month's protest to the bill by Matt, he had made out a more detailed bill and took it over to him and he was told by Matt Gray that "I'm going to tell you right up front that I am not going to pay it right now. The board wants me to bring it next month."

Hetrick said he asked him, "What do you mean the board? .....Are you talking about half the board? And he just laughed and said, "I guess I am!'"

"I called Darlene, and she said she did not tell him not to pay us. And she felt the way they left it, it was tabled."

Hetrick continued: "I talked to Matt just the other day and at first he had a problem with the backhoe but he wasn't going to squabble over $90. You paid it, so I'll pay that. Everything else on there other than $150 for the air compressor was strictly parts for an inch and a half line. I could have somebody from the companies we buy form verify what this is. I am not charging Matt Gray a dollar more than what the village spent.

"I don't see how we are going to give Matt Gray, whether he went through the flood or not, everybody else did too, a $1260 bill free when everybody else is paying. Matt knew when he put in that carwash, ...what it is. It's been almost a year now. Some of that is probably our fault........(the flood, auditors taking the books 3 1/2 months)......but now he's got the bill and he acts as if he doesn't have any idea that it was going to be like that."

Rex asked Matt Gray if he got a new bill and if he was happy with it.

Matt said he got it and it was the same price as the other bill.

Rex asked him if it had everything listed, and Matt said, "Yes it did.

"Everything that was on the old bill that was scribbled in was on the new bill, but it was a lot neater.

Mayor McKinney asked if they had an ordinance, and Hetrick said no, and elaborated on the difficulty of that.

"I don't know what the problem is," said Hetrick. "We've got village checks paying exactly what Matt Gray is going to pay. It should be a no brainer."

Hetrick said the only thing the village has not paid for yet, was the use of Byron Sebastian's air compressor. "Byron put in the water pump. if you don't want that, take if off!" Hetrick said. "That's the only thing we've got that the village hasn't paid for."

Trustee Darlene Manes asked what water customers pay for hook up.

Trustee Jim Hetrick explained the details of hooking into the main line to the meter and from the meter to the residence is the home owners or business's responsibility. "It can be 20 feet or it can be 300," Hetrick explained.

Trustee Byron Sebastian said, "We got Joe from the Utility Equipment Company. You got to be a licensed plumber, to tap that line. Joe comes from the Quad Cities when Tom calls him, at no charge to the village. Other than that you have to have a licensed plumber to tap that line."

Hetrick explained further to Manes about the cost and inconvenience of getting an air compressor. Jim told about two bids recently where RSC in Burlington, IA had a used one for $6,500 and a new one for $10,000. "Sometimes it is only used once a year."

Mayor McKinney asked Matt Gray what he thought.

"Well, I'm with Jim, I'm not disputing any of it. I just want it explained to me and make sure it was fair. I don't want do any more or pay any less than anybody else. I want to make sure it is fair," Matt said.

Hetrick offered to show more details if Gray wanted to bring it over, and Gray said he could bring it over to him and they would go over it.

After a long pause, the mayor asked, "Are you satisfied Matt?"

He replied, "Uh-uhm."

The next thing on the agenda was "PAYING FLOOD BILLS."

Mayor McKinney said, "We got the money in the bank and we should be paying these flood bills. I think we should have had them out by August and a we kind of held on to them. I think it is time we paid the flood bills.

"I a met with FEMA and a Darlene and me did, and they said that the clean up money that - there was two different bills to this - the pre-flood and the clean up and a they said that since there was such a issue over this just to send all the clean-up money back."

"Kurt and Peter did do some clean-up work, but they need to have them submit a new P.W. (project worksheet) for that, and the $40-$50 thousand, we're going to send that back to them. As far as paying other flood bills they was approved by FEMA. We have the money. I think it's time we pay. How's the board feel about that?"

Trustee Jim Hetrick replied, "Rex, in the last few days, it isn't going to be a question of an audit. It's going to be when it is.......What happens if the village gets an audit and they say it is not right?"

Rex said, "When Darlene and I met with FEMA representatives, we had a bill. And the book stated how much each job could pay. if you had a truck, if you had a dozer, if you had anything, it said in the book how much you could charge and if there was any question about it. Rick the project manager would look in the book, and okay it, whether or not it would be okay with FEMA, and he approved everything. It was all approved and sent in and FEMA paid it and sent the village the money.

Hetrick asked, "Did you, not hear, FEMA, several people from the county, and the States Attorney, in the last ten days, say, if this goes south, will.......

Mayor interrupts: "I have no problem with what we've done and with the bills that have been paid."

Hetrick said, "I don't have a problem with it, I'm asking what happens if the village gets an audit and they say it's not right? Who pays the government back?"

The mayor said, "I think the person we write the check to. I don't look for that to be a problem."

"You mean to tell me, several people have told you last week that the village of Gladstone will pay it back?"

Hetrick said, "If we sign off tonight to pay these, and they're wrong, the village of Gladstone is going to have to pay it back."

The mayor asked Manes if it was ever asked at a FEMA meeting and Hetrick said, "You guys have been to every meeting and you don't remember the states attorney drilling you that Gladstone was going to have to pay that money back?

Rex asked what he meant and Hetrick explained that he had been going over this with the states attorney and he said that was exactly what was going to happen.

The mayor asked the village attorney's opinion.

Attorney Andy Youngquist said he was standing behind what he had said earlier, that if there was a question on bills he would not pay.

"It wasn't going to hurt anything to leave the money in the account until this is all settled.

"Obviously there are questions if they have to send the money back. If we had paid the money out 3 months ago we wouldn't have the funds to return the cleanup money to FEMA."

Hetrick handed out copies of the project worksheet to board members and to the Mayor and asked him to read the highlighted part that he had signed off on. It listed the eight companies with the amount they had billed FEMA.

Mayor McKinney refused to read it, and so Hetrick read:

"I certify that the above information was obtained from payroll records, invoices, or other documents that are available for audit." signed - Rex A. McKinney, Mayor, 8/8/2008.

Hetrick explained the invoices were in there, but not the pay stubs. "Just because there was an invoice, it doesn't mean that is what they paid."

Mayor asked McChesney if he had the payroll records and he said he could get them.

Kurt asked if Gladstone was going to set a precedence here and said there was going to be an added cost if he was going to have to produce all these records. He also said the audit would fall on his shoulders.

Hetrick disagreed saying FEMA wrote the checks to the village and he was told several times by the States Attorney and by FEMA that the village would be responsible.

"Kevin Shauman, Don Olson, Byron Sebastian equipment built 95% of the levee. State of Illinois's trucks and Dick Bigger built the other 5%.," Hetrick said. Kurt's bid, I don't have a problem with any of the hours he turned in. I want to see the list.

"Rex, you signed off on $182,000, (and you won't sign off on Byron's,) for 193 workers and 4,664 hours, and you know how many hours all these guys worked, but you can't say these three guys were working.

....It's ridiculous..."

The mayor asked Hetrick if he wanted to see Kurt's hours, and he replied, "I want to see pay stubs for all these workers. The village can't afford to pay this back.

"I want to see that he paid it. $54,000 receipts, how it was paid out and how they came up with that?

Rex McKinney said. "You know the sad part here are the losers here are the people on that part of town.

"It was all set up that Kurt was going to take the money for the clean-up and use it to build a levee around that part of town. And the village wasn't going to have to come up with any money, and it was all going to be done by Kurt.

Now FEMA wants the money back, the $50,000 we have setting in the bank, they want it back.

The money's gone, the levees gone, and all this fighting has done, has cost us a lot of time and money.

The last six months all we've done is fought about what's happened in the past. Let's get it over with and move on. Let's get it done. Are we going to fight about it the next two years? So anyway that's all I got to say, I'm going to table it until next month."

"On the advice from attorney we are to hold the money, what does the board want to do?" Mayor McKinney asked. "It's up to you pay or hold... Hopkins said, "Table it!" Flo said "Table," and the mayor said they were going to hold it.

Manes said they need to pay it as soon as they can, and Hetrick said FEMA told them they had four years and for now it is sitting in the village flood account.

The board went onto NEW BUSINESS which was Resubmitting The Flood Bills:

Alan Ferguson, of the Henderson Co. Highway Dept. explained he was in the FEMA meeting that Rex and Darlene attended and they both said that he was suppose to send Byron a letter explaining why he wouldn't sign off on Sebastian's bill.

Rex said he wanted to have the board do it, and Ferguson reminded him he was the village applicant and that is who would decide.

Mayor McKinney asked Kevin Shauman if he wanted to resubmit his bill and Shauman asked the mayor if he was going to sign off this time.

The mayor said it depends on the board.

Shauman asked why he was signing off this time when he didn't before. "It's the same exact bill."

The mayor said, "The first time I was under a State of Emergency and I can do special things."

"Now we are not under emergency, so we do it under normal procedures. So, I have to let the board approve it."

Ferguson told the Mayor that the only way these bills can be paid is if he signs off on them.

Rex said, "The way I am going to do it. I am going to leave it up to the board to decide.

Ferguson said. "It doesn't make any difference. You will still be the one who decides. The board is not empowered as applicant. You are."

Manes talked the mayor into looking into all the invoices that Shauman and Olson have, so there wouldn't be any questions, she said.

Trustee Byron Sebastian did not submit his bill at the meeting.

"I don't have any problem with Shauman and Olson's bill," the Mayor said.

The mayor tabled his signing off on the flood bills until next month.

The mayor said of Sebastian's bill -if he would take off the forklift, he would sign off on it.

Scott Walters - who was in the same FEMA meeting with the mayor and Manes, said to Rex that he was told to send Sebastian a letter stating what he needed to do to submit his bill. The mayor nor Manes said they neither one could remember that they were suppose to send a letter.

There was a lot more discussion back and forth and finally Sebastian asked the mayor to send him a letter telling him exactly what he wanted him to do, and he would have his bill here next month.

The mayor said he found out tonight that he doesn't need board approval and that he would check with FEMA and table it to next month.

All bills were approved and the meeting was adjourned.