|Water, Sewer Operations Turned Over To Grantsville|
By David Hedges, Publisher
Roane County Reporter
Members of Mt. Zion public
Service District turned over operations
of the Mt. Zion water
and sewer systems to the town of
Grantsville this week after a law
suit left the PSD without a cent in
their bank account.
"At least this will keep the water flowing, which is the primary
concern," PSD member Roscoe "Cokey" Gainer said this week.
Although the agreement is for
a year, Gainer said the PSD could
resume operating the system
sooner if financial problems are
Former water and sewer system
operators Tom Fluharty and Dick
Ullum filed suit in Calhoun Circuit Court, alleging that the PSD
owed them thousands of dollars
for work they performed while
under a contract for more than
While working for the PSD, Fluharty said he and Ullum paid for
everything from chlorine tablets to sewer pumps out of their own
"We bought it on our credit cards
so we could have material to work
with," Fluharty said. "We kept a
tally of it for them."
After they resigned in late 2011, Fluharty said the men asked for
monthly payments of $2,000 and the PSD members agreed.
"I think they did it for two months, and then they quit," he
Fluharty said the men hired former Wirt County prosecutor Leslie
Maze, who filed a lawsuit on their behalf in Calhoun Circuit Court.
"I hated to do it, but after two and a half years of trying to get a
payment, the only resource we
had was to get a lawyer and have
it done," he said.
The PSD never contested the
lawsuit, and last month Judge David Nibert
awarded a defaultjudgment
for $71,000, whioh included
interest on the debt.
When the PSD failed to respond,
the judge authorized seizure ofthe
their bank accounts, and last week
Maze received a check on behalf
of her clients for $46,365.40, which
Calhoun Banks told her was all
the money the PSD had in their
Fluharty said he and Ullum are still owed about $25,000. He said
Maze plans to file a lien against a new
pickup truck and excavator the PSD
purchased after the men left.
"They already had a truck," Fluharty
said. "It was never used."
Once the PSD was left penniless,
their employees stopped reporting
to work and the state health department
issued a boil water advisory
for all the customers on the system
because the water was not being
Those customers include two of the
three schools in Calhoun County, Arnoldsburg
Elementary and Calhoun
Middle/High School at Mt. Zion.
With the boil water advisory in
effect, Gainer said the schools could
not use the water for drinking or food
"There was even something put out
that said they could not wash their hands with it," he said.
On Friday, PSD members Gainer, Sharon Postalwait, and Shirley
Mace met with the Grantsville Town
Council about the possibility of the
town taking over operations of the
Mt. Zion water and sewer systems. The PSD already purchased all of its
water from Grantsville, Gainer
said, at a cost of $10,000 to $12,000
The council agreed, on a 3-2 vote,
to try it for one year.
An agreement was prepared and
approved by the PSD members
Gainer and Postalwait at their regular
meeting Monday night. Mace did
Grantsville was to begin operating
the system Tuesday.
Grantsville Mayor Curtis Garretson
told the Hur Herald the boil water
advisory could be lifted as early as Wednesday of this week.
Gainer said Grantsviile planned
to hire the PSDs, three employees,
including an office worker and two
"As far as I know, they are planning
on using them," Gainer said.
He said the PSD members hoped to
get their finances worked out and resume operating the system as quickly
as possible. He said a similar situation
elsewhere in the state was solved in
a little over three months.
Gainer said the Mt. Zion PSD
would continue to hold regular meetings
the second Monday of each
month at 6 p.m. at the community
building at Arnoldsburg.