Board of Aldermen tables 4-year-old surveying bill

Published 7:17 pm Tuesday, August 9, 2016

BELHAVEN — The Belhaven Board of Aldermen got a surprising bill passed across its desk at Monday night’s meeting.

Town Manager Woody Jarvis presented a bill from Hood Richardson’s land surveying firm, totaling close to $12,000 with zoning-related work dating back to 2012.

He said he told Richardson he didn’t feel comfortable presenting a 4-year-old bill of that magnitude to the board, so the two negotiated the total down to about $6,000.

“We felt like that was the right thing to do,” Richardson said. “If I had billed them timely like I should have, I probably would have the $12,000.”

“I am aware that the town has gone for several years without an accurate zoning map, and that has just been resolved,” Jarvis said to the board.

Despite cutting the bill almost in half, board members still expressed their confusion as to why the bill was just now being sent.

“It all just seems very strange,” Alderman Yvonne DeRuiz said. “What we don’t understand is the fact that we’ve got 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and some from 2016.”

“My opinion is — a bill from 2012? Hood’s a businessman. Excuse me?” she added.

Richardson said it was the culmination of uncertainty in Belhaven surrounding the hospital and other factors, and the work ended up turning into ongoing projects.

“When you deal with the government, you deal with a lot of uncertainty. … There was a lot of stop and go there,” he said. “We didn’t do this (billing) because there was always limbo with the town.”

Richardson said he did submit a list of the work completed in Belhaven.

“I have no doubt that he has spent the time. I have no doubt that he did the work,” Jarvis said at Monday’s meeting.

Finance Director Kelly Brady told the board funds to cover this bill was not budgeted for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, so it would have to vote on a budget amendment to cover it.

The board voted unanimously to table the item until the aldermen had more time to examine the situation.