|MoDOT District Engineer Becky Baltz|
City leaders in Reeds Spring are working with the Missouri Department of Transportation in an effort to handle an outstanding debt of $54,000 that the city owes the state agency.
The $54,000 debt is the result of the city's 2003 bankruptcy agreement. According to the bankruptcy agreement, MoDOT had a general unsecured claim for transportation fees for the relocation of city public utilities owned by the city and relocated by MoDOT in the construction and relocation of Missouri 13.
The city was supposed to accumulate a surplus of general revenue funds covering a 10-year period, then make a lump sum payment to MoDOT. The current board was "blindsided" by the debt that was due to be paid by December 31, 2013.
“What we think will happen is that they'll visit with us on a payback plan," said District Engineer for the southwest region Becky Baltz.
"We're hoping that MoDOT will settle for less than what is owed," said City Administrator Bill Bell. "The likelihood of that happening is slim, but we're optimistic," he said.
Bell said he and City Treasurer Leonard Cardwell are currently working on a proposal which will be presented to MoDOT at a proposed meeting between the entities the week of February 10th.
"Currently, transportations expenses in the city of Reeds Spring are paid for from the city's general fund," said Bell. "Some of those expenses would be re-appropriated to the transportation fund, if approved. The result would be an increase in funds available in the general fund, some of which would continue to be used to fund trasportaiton projects and some that would be used to satisty general obligations of the city, which, by definition, would be the city's debt to MoDOT."
He says any agreement between MoDOT and the city will have to be approved by the board of alderman at an upcoming meeting, "which will be publicly posted."
"What we've done is get our hand on all of those original documents." said Bell. MoDOT had to provide the city with the agreement documents as they were not in any files at city hall and current board members were not aware of the outstanding debt before it was called due, according to Bell.
Bell says the city is not disputing the debt , but it was a "shocker" to learn of the amount.
We realize we probably won't be paid in a lump sum," said Baltz. "We thought city leaders were aware of the amount and the due date....we're willing to work with them.