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County rejects White Oak’s payment plan for water line

Polk County Commissioners have denied a second attempt by White Oak Development Partners, LLC to pay the remaining balance of $169,753 to Polk County for a water line extension. Commissioners also directed the county attorney to prepare a complaint for court for breach of contract.
Polk commissioners met Monday and discussed a letter from White Oak attorney Phil Feagan that asked the county to accept a five month payment plan for the water line at $34,000 per month. Commissioners unanimously denied that request upon returning to open session.
Commissioners during a meeting on Jan. 11 decided to give White Oak 10 working days to make the remaining payment in full. The 10-day period would have been up today (Jan. 28). White Oaks original payment deadline was Sept. 1, 2009 to pay the full cost of the water line at $359,505. At the end of August, White Oak paid half of the balance and then contributed another $10,000 to the debt in December, 2009. Commissioners demanded the payment be made in full during their first meeting of the new year after denying another request for a payment plan by White Oak during the Jan. 11 meeting.
County manager Ryan Whitson said commissioners directed attorney Tom Hix to prepare a court complaint for breach of contract. It is unclear at this point if the county will seek the payment through court.
White Oaks letter sent to the county on Monday requested the payment plan and said the balance would be paid in full in June. The $34,000 monthly payments would begin on Feb. 19.
“Being unable to pay the full balance at present as demanded by your recent letter, White Oak would be very appreciative of any consideration you may be able to give them during this present economic crisis,” stated Feagans letter to the county manager.
Polk County and White Oak agreed for White Oak to pay the full costs of an extension water line from the countys main line running through Green Creek that connects Broad River Water Authority to Inman Campobello Water District. The county allowed the line to run through Polk territory in exchange for owning the line and being able to purchase water from Broad River for Polk customers and to extend lines off the main line. White Oaks water line was a two-mile extension that runs from the Hwy. 14 and Hwy. 9 crossroads and runs along Sandy Plains Road to the development. The water line was completed last Fall and Polk County paid for the extension out of its fund balance.
White Oak responded earlier this month after the county demanded the payment in full saying that they are still committed to the project and have invested $30 million in the development. Developers said then they are looking into long-term financing options and they feel the long term outlook for the project is very positive and it will ultimately prove to be a tremendous asset to the county.
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