Piedmont officials negotiating for payment of unbilled services
by Eddie Burkhalter
eburkhalter@annistonstar.com
Jan 21, 2014 | 2957 views |  0 comments | 71 71 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PIEDMONT — The city of Piedmont could soon be paid for unbilled services, as negotiations with the company that owes the money are underway, said Mayor Bill Baker.

A 10-year contract with Information Transport Solutions, the company providing wireless Internet service for students at Piedmont City schools, was expected to bring in between $3,100 and $3,400 monthly to Piedmont for the use of city utility poles and electricity. The contract was signed January 2012.

The city never billed for or collected those fees, but city officials are in talks with the company to begin repayments, Baker told the City Council Tuesday night. Baker said he didn’t want to place blame on a single staff member, but said the error occurred at City Hall.

“We haven’t talked numbers yet, but I think they’re more than willing and they know they owe us,” Baker said, referring to the company.

The council learned of the unpaid bills during a Friday meeting between the school system, council members and Information Transport Solutions. The schools are asking the city to restart $6,250 monthly payments to the district to help pay for the student’s wireless Internet service.

The council agreed in 2011 to make those payments but stopped within a few months. City officials have said former Mayor Rick Freeman stopped those payments.

Baker said he expects the council will decide on whether to restart the payments to the schools at the next meeting on February 4.

“I hope everyone gives that careful consideration and makes the right decision,” Baker said. “We’ll see where it goes.”

In another matter, residents leaving trash on curbsides and in alleyways behind their homes are causing a growing problem, Baker said.

“We are not going to tolerate people dumping their trash in alleys and on the side of the road,” Baker said. “It’s an eyesore.”

Police are informing several of those residents that they need to clean up their garbage, Baker said. Citations will be served, he said, and those that do not clean up their garbage can expect to be taken to court.

In a bit of recognition, Baker was surprised during the meeting by being named The Piedmont Journal Citizen of the Year. Piedmont Journal publisher John Alred presented Baker with the award.

Alred credited Baker for his many years as a social worker, and for his active civic life and support of Piedmont.

Baker expressed gratitude for the award, and said “There are so many more people that deserve this more so than myself….This is such an honor and totally unexpected. I do love Piedmont.”

In other business, the council:

— Made a proclamation honoring 1986 Piedmont High School graduate, Piedmont resident and Jacksonville State University head football coach Bill Clark. Baker gave the proclamation to Clark during halftime at a Jacksonville State University basketball game earlier in January.

— Paid bills in total of $628,000.

— Accepted a bid from Pelham-based TJ Construction for $145,500 for the replacement of one mile of gas lines.

Staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.

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