Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sun Valley pays county dispatch bill

City policy prevented payment, staff says


By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

A check remitting payment for dispatch services is on its way to Blaine County, Sun Valley city officials said Monday.

The Blaine County commissioners sent a letter to Sun Valley Mayor Dewayne Briscoe last week after County Administrator Derek Voss informed the board that the city had not paid its dispatch bill.

As of last week, Sun Valley had missed its three quarterly payments for dispatch services provided by the county. While Blaine County funds part of the cost of consolidated dispatch, the cities of Ketchum, Hailey, Sun Valley and Bellevue all contribute to the center's operations.

An invoice provided by Sun Valley on Thursday shows that the city is behind on its payments by $88,212.75 for fiscal 2012.

Virginia Egger, interim executive assistant to the mayor, stated last week that the city of Sun Valley had not been invoiced regarding its charges, and therefore did not pay the bill.

Deputy County Clerk Leslie Londos said Monday that when it comes to contracts for service—such as the one for dispatch services between the county and the cities—the terms of payment, including due dates, are spelled out in the document itself.

"We don't normally send out invoices for contracts," she said. "The contracts say what amounts are due and when, so they should just be paying."

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Egger said, however, that the city has a policy that it must receive an invoice for every bill it pays, in order to leave a paper trail. Though Londos said she sent an invoice to the city in early May, Egger said she did not receive it.

"The city of Sun Valley has talked with [the county] before," Egger said. "We do require an invoice for all payments. All I can say is that the city pays its bills in a timely fashion upon invoice."

Egger said she didn't know when the policy was started, but that it predated her joining the city staff in February. City Councilman Nils Ribi said he believes the policy was started with the new City Council, though it was a staff decision.

Voss said Monday that no other cities had missed payments so far this fiscal year, though some may be behind on the latest one. He said that despite missed payments, Sun Valley was not in danger of having dispatch services cut off.

"It has no impact on operations because we have a responsibility to provide that [dispatch] service," he said. "It does have an impact on budgets ... but not operations."

Voss said he did not believe the late payments were a protest against the current dispatch funding model, which the city has protested vehemently in the past.

"I don't think this is with any intent, it was just an oversight," he said, adding, "If they need an invoice, we can certainly provide them with one."

The city's next payment is due July 1.

Kate Wutz: kwutz@mtexpress.com




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