MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

March 12, 2014

Boynton OKs plan to pay water debt

BOYNTON — Boynton trustees hope to make monthly payments to pay off a delinquent water bill of more than $50,000.

During a Board of Trustees meeting Monday, trustees approved a proposal to make monthly payments of $2,000 toward the past due amount owed to the town of Haskell for water service and to keep the monthly bills current going forward.

The proposal follows legal action Haskell officials filed last week.

Haskell officials filed  a petition for breach of contract in Muskogee District Court on March 4. The the breach of contract petition  states that the town of Boynton/Boynton Public Works Authority owes Haskell Public Works Authority $52,130.67 for past water bills, dating back to Oct. 26, 2011.

The lawsuit asks for compensation for the past due amount, pre-judgment and post-judgment interest plus other amounts that may accrue after Feb. 12, for water furnished. Haskell also is asking for court costs, an attorney’s fee, and to terminate the 40-year Water Purchase Contract with Boynton.

“This has been something that they have suggested to us to propose to them, but they have not accepted it,” said Betty Outhier Williams, town attorney.

Williams said she would mail a copy of Boynton’s proposal to the town of Haskell on Tuesday.

A representative of the town of Haskell could not be reached for comment.

In addition to approving the water payments proposal Monday evening, trustees fielded questions and heard comments from water customers. Some expressed concerns about their individual bills, while others wanted to know what would happen if the town’s past due water bill owed to Haskell is not paid.

“Can Haskell turn that water off?” one person asked.

“They can’t just turn it off automatically, but they can seek the court’s permission to turn if off,” Williams said.  “Because it is a matter of health and welfare, they can’t just turn it off.”

Haskell would have to give the town notice before canceling water service, Williams said, “but it doesn’t mean if we don’t do something about it, then we’re not going to get it cut off.”

She added that the town of Haskell would prefer not to cancel water service to Boynton and they would prefer to receive the money.

Others in attendance at the trustee meeting detailed problems with their water bills and Trustee Rose Walker said board members will be reviewing delinquent accounts and will be working with water customers regarding questions about the individual bills.

The Water Purchase Contract between Haskell Public Works Authority and the town of Boynton/Boynton Public Works Authority has been in effect since August 1983, records state.

Reach Anita Reding at (918) 684-2903 or areding@muskogeephoenix.com.

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