By: Tim Kays
Members of the Holiday City Village Council on March 18, approved a lease agreement for village-owned property located on Selwyn Drive.
At their February 18 meeting, Council agreed to a request to solicit bids for the lease of village property on Selwyn Drive. Village Administrator Gary Baker said then, “We have an individual that wants to lease the property across from the Auto Auction, next to our substation. This gentleman just wants to lease it, and his terms are to have a 90-day cancellation of the lease.”
On the evening of March 18, Council suspended the rules of reading to adopt Resolution R-2021-6, authorizing the lease of the aforementioned plot of land at 14130 Selwyn Drive to Mr. James Estle, where he plans to store vehicles awaiting auction. The lease agreement takes effect April 1, 2021, at the agreed upon amount of $1,101.00 per month.
Council also suspended the rules of reading to adopt Resolution R-2021-4, authorizing three then and now purchase orders dated March 17 and March 18.
Those purchase orders included $4,000.00 issued to Poggemeyer for engineering during construction and construction observation on Selwyn Drive, $ 9,184.00 issued to Treasurer of State Josh Mandel for the 2019-2020 audit, and $24,330.00 issued to Bryan Excavating, LLC for storm sewer repair.
Council again suspended the rules to adopt Resolution R-2021-5, approving the Solid Waste Management Plan Update for the Joint Solid Waste Management District of Defiance, Fulton, Paulding and Williams Counties.
In other actions, Council approved a measure to adopt a three-year village insurance renewal with Beck Insurance at a base rate of $21,444, and adding cyber data breach coverage at an additional $110. “Updates and changes are still done each year at the renewal, just as in the past,” said Clerk Treasurer Lauri TenEyck-Rupp.
“The policy would renew without any official action required at each renewal during the term. The three-year policy is not a premium rate guarantee; they’re not going to hold the rates. It’s just a paperwork thing, eliminating the need for official action every year in order for the policy to continue.”
Council also agreed to a suggestion from Village Solicitor Cara Wall to cease further investigations into possible reimbursements from Montpelier. The story surrounding the action goes back more than two decades.
“There’s two separate funds that the village was paying into for a long time,” Wall began. “One was for the Chase Sewer Fund, and one was the Chase Water Fund to pay for those extensions. We were paying into it, and Chase was paying into it as well.”
“For years and years this was happening; they all started in 98-99. These accounts that were started with funds from Chase as initial deposits, but we don’t know how much those initial deposits were for. So over time, the village paid into these funds; Chase also paid into it.”
“And then because of agreements on tap fees, we also covered some portion of Chase’s bill, but essentially what you need to know is that we were both paying into these two funds, and these funds are with Montpelier. So Chase and the village were paying into funds, organized, managed by Montpelier to pay off loans for the water and sewer advancements that were put in there.”
The plot became more complicated when Wall continued by saying, “In addition to the two that we were paying into, Chase had additional funds with Montpelier for other improvements that they were also paying into. So there’s two that we’re both in, and then one more that was just Chase that was being managed by Montpelier.”
Boiling it all down, there were a total of three accounts concerning Chase, two of which Holiday City was also paying into.
Somewhere in the last 20-plus years though, those three accounts were bundled into one account, and the confusion thereby ensued as to what amounts belonged to who or what.
“Our portion that we were paying off was done in 2018,” Wall continued, “…so we stopped paying into it in 2018. What it’s coming down to is, all that is paid off, and there’s still funds…in the account. And so the question Montpelier started with is they were going to refund the amount left in those accounts to Chase.”
“We raised the question whether there’s any portion of that excess that was still in the accounts that were funds from the village. What we do know is that at the time we stopped paying, there was extra or overpayments in those accounts.”
“We don’t know how much was there at that point in time, and we don’t know how much, if any at all, was village funds. All we know is there’s money in there, and they’re accounts that both of our funds went into. We know that Chase had started that account, and they’d seeded it with the initial funds to begin with…we don’t know how much that is.”
With much of the 20-year old documentation as to the ownership of the funds no longer in existence, the matter of how Montpelier is to return the $183,174.30 surplus is in question.
“They can’t tell us if any of that is from money the village put in, if at all,” Wall said. “We just don’t know. We’ve tried to find documentation. There hasn’t been any ability to actually delineate this, so we don’t know if we’re entitled any money in there, and we’re not sure how they would be able to figure it out.”
Wall, Baker and TenEyck-Rupp all agreed that furthering the investigation would probably run up legal costs, while bearing little, if any answers as to the delineation of the $183,174.30 in question.
Councilor Sean Rupp voiced his agreement that the furtherance of the investigation would likely prove fruitless. “Lauri and I have been involved in this since the beginning,” he said, “…and it’s been a mess. Nobody can account for where it goes, what got paid for, all those kinds of things.”
“We’ve tried to work on it numerous times over the years and see if we could ask for documents or whatever, and we just get nowhere with it, as frustrating as that is for me. I know what our intent was, which was when Chase quit paying, we didn’t pay any more. We can’t prove that.”
“We can’t show that; we don’t know what the numbers are. I’m recommending that we drop it and move on with our lives.” Council agreed to cede the funds to Chase as a measure of goodwill.
Prior to adjourning for the evening, Council retired into executive session to discuss the possibility of a real estate purchase, with no actions undertaken upon returning to open session.
Tim can be reached at email@example.com