By Staff Reports
The Henry County Public Service Authority (PSA) had approximately 500 on its most recent utility disconnection list for the month of May.
Finance Director Darrell Jones said at the PSA board’s June 21 meeting that the list of 450-500 names was about three times larger than normal.
May was the first month that the PSA resumed cut-offs for non-payment of bills since the pandemic began.
“The interesting thing about that is we had numerous customers that as soon as it was brought to their attention, they were over here paying their bill,” said Dale Wagoner, assistant general manager for the PSA. “Most of them wanted same-day service, so money didn’t seem to be an issue.”
Jones said there is a $50 surcharge associated with having utilities turned back on the same day that they were shut off.
“The concern is that during this time frame, which was probably going back over a year, there were probably some transient people that came and left that didn’t pay, and we may or may not ever see again,” Jones said.
Board Member Mike Harris, of the Reed Creek District, noted that the PSA customers previously had access to appropriated funds through the local Department of Social Services to help with payment during the pandemic.
“We had money set aside for people to take advantage of, and nobody did,” Harris said. “I don’t know what else you can do. I thought we were more than generous.”
In other matters, the board:
*Said farewell to Mike Amos, special projects coordinator for the PSA and director of the county’s refuse department. Amos is retiring effective June 30 with 40 years of service to the county.
Amos “began his career with the Public Service Authority on May 5, 1981,” Wagoner said. “Mike Amos has been described as the Swiss Army knife of the Public Service Authority. No matter the task, he never said no when asked to do it, and many times he was already out in front of things. It’ll be very hard to replace Mike.”
Amos was presented a plaque to memorialize the occasion by Gerry Lawicki, chairman of the PSA board.
“We are going to miss you like crazy, but it’s well deserved,” Lawicki said.
“The PSA has been good to me over the years and I hope that I’ve been able to give that back to them,” Amos said. “There is a time when you know that it is time to move on, and it was my time.
“The guy that is going to be replacing me, Adam Roop, he will do a good job. He’s probably good for at least 20 years,” Amos said jokingly.
*Heard an update from Jones on $43,000 in “uncollectable” utility bills from 2020. Jones said that annually, he makes a “bookkeeping entry to write off” yearly statements from the PSA’s accounts receivable line item for utility bills.
“It does not mean that we are going to cease trying to collect them,” Jones said. “It is just mainly an entry that the auditors recommended that we make every year to reflect that the possibility of collecting them has now mainly passed, but we still do collect some as we go along.”
Jones said that typically amounts to around $40,000-45,000 each year. He added that the list only refers to past customers who are delinquent, “and we don’t know where they are” instead of current customers.
*Heard an update from Mike Ward, director of regulatory compliance, on an inflow and infiltration study from Duke’s Roots.
Ward said the study area encompassed two areas. One was from Koehler down towards Blackberry Creek and the other area began near Daniels Creek Road and up towards the Henry County School Bus Garage.
According to the report, there were 17 manholes found that are in “severe” condition, 68 manholes that are of “high concern” and 24 of “moderate concern.” Ward said none were in good condition and noted that work to evaluate rehabilitation costs will be done in the coming weeks.