Council decides hiring process to settle water disagreement

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A dispute that began months ago between Forest Point Apartments and City Manager John Whitson is close to coming to an end after Texarkana, Texas City Council’s Monday evening’s meeting.

This issue was brought forth to council members and has been an ongoing conversation at City Council meetings since December.

According to agenda materials,  the disagreement began when Forest Point Apartment Homes manager, Claire Jaynes, made claims of being overcharged for water and sewer services, and further claimed that TWU owed her $300,000 for over-billing.

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Consequently, the claims required city council to look at evidence in order to come to a conclusion on wether Forest Point Apartment Homes would be required to make full payment, or TWU would refund Jaynes’ money.

During the meeting, City Council went into close session with legal counsel to decide how the dispute would be settled. After an hour of careful consideration, city council voted anonymously to settle the dispute by allowing Jaynes and Whitson to agree on the hiring of a disinterested calibration expert to look at the water meter, and upon his findings a decision will be made.

Council member Ward 5 Christy P. Paddock, expressed her thoughts on this ongoing situation. “I’m very uncomfortable that the council was put in this position,” says Paddock. She went on to state, “Jaynes has not presented enough legal evidence. . . it’s been a he said she said, back and forth but there has been no expert up here saying the meter was not working.”

The statements by Paddock were reinforced by Ward 3 Council member Tina Veal-Gooch who agreed the best way to handle the situation was to bring in a calibrator who will make the final determination. Veal-Gooch stated “I think what we felt [this] was the most equitable solution to a difficult situation that we found ourselves in.”

Forest Point Apartment Homes and City Manager have a lapse of 30 days to agree on the calibration expert who will be hired; should the expert find in Jayne’s favor, she will be reimbursed for the overcharges. By this same standard, should the expert find in favor of TWU, Jaynes will have 30 days to pay the money owed in water and sewer bills.

 

 

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