County & Utilities Debate Over Bill - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

04/21/08 - Nacogdoches County

County & Utilities Debate Over Bill

by Donna McCollum

The debate is over a bill the county received to relocate utility lines for Lake Naconiche. Deep East Texas Electric Co-op signed onto the job back in 2003. The company's initial estimate was around $120,000. When the bill arrived last summer it read $206,000.

Deep East Texas Electric Co-op manager Larry Warren agreed,  " Quite a bit of increase and we regret that and hate that, but material costs went up." Lake project manager, George Campbell pointed out,   " There are stipulations in the agreement that if there are any changes in the scope of work or cost that the county is to be notified and we were not notified at all. " He said there is an obligation to taxpayers to straighten the matter out. Warren says he's unaware of such a clause. Nevertheless, he too feels obligated to his co-op members of the non profit utility company.    " We just need to be reimbursed for those costs because we don't feel it's fair for our consumers in seven counties to bear the cost of this. "

Warren is inviting the idea of an audit to prove all the expenses are legitimate. Following a five hour meeting it may come to that or even worse.    " If we're through discussing the only alternative we have is to seek legal action, "  said Warren. Campbell said, " We don't want to head to the courtroom at all. The intent here is to meet with them and to get it resolved. " So far nothing has been resolved. The utilities plan to meet with their boards on Thursday to determine what should be the next step.

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