Attorneys representing NC Telecom agree that Moffat County will keep money in an escrow account as long as it takes to spend it, Moffat County's new commissioner said Monday.
A document dated Jan. 8 -- and addressed to County Attorney Kathleen Taylor from the Utah-based law firm McKeachnie, Allred, McClellan & Trotter -- appears to put in writing an issue agreed to verbally in a public meeting last month by Moffat County commissioners and NC Telecom staff.
"With this in hand, it makes a big difference for me if they can get some services hooked up," said Darryl Steele, who was sworn in as commissioner today at the Moffat County Courthouse.
Some $466,666 in pre-paid telecommunications services now sits in an interest-bearing escrow account held by Moffat County.
Leftover funds from the escrow account would have been payable to NC Telecom by Dec. 31, 2011.
The document received Jan. 8 outlines "the understanding and intent" of NC Telecom that Moffat County can spend the money "until such time as the entire amount has been used to pay for communications services."
"This takes care of the big concerns I had," said Steele. "I feel like we still need to push NC Telecom for the services called for in that contract."
The new moves stem from a 1999 contract worth $1.2 million with Moffat County and the Meeker-based telecommunications firm.
The two-tract agreement called for delivery of one high-speed Internet connection costing $500,000, serving the Moffat
County Public Safety Center by April 2001.
Services were delivered
seven months late to the
Also by April 2001, the 1999 deal committed NC Telecom to deliver a second connection with capacity equal to that of the line serving the Public Safety Center.
This service -- for which Moffat County bought $700,000 in pre-paid services that could be used by only county offices, libraries, municipalities, hospitals and public schools -- remains undelivered.
Most entities specified in this part of the deal weren't aware it existed, and county officials have said that no plan exists to roll out services financed under the pre-paid
The Jan. 8 letter -- which is signed by NC Telecom Chief Executive Officer Bruce Todd -- addresses the issues and concerns of some, said Moffat County's Taylor.
"It clarifies for those who question the interpretations of the contracts, but in my mind there was never any question this money would be for the county's use. I believe we'd prevail if it were litigated," she said.
Meanwhile, the Jan. 8 letter raises questions on how the pre-paid account can be spent. Use of the pre-paid account could cover "services, insurance premiums, or other things the parties may agree upon ...," the letter reads.
Taylor said expenditures aside from telecommunication service haven't been specified between the two sides.
"They've left some doors open," Taylor said. "This is not something we have addressed in any of the contracts prior to this."
Paul Shockley can be reached at 824-7031 or at email@example.com.