Members petitioning vs. Arnold Line, again

Members petitioning vs. Arnold Line, again
(Source: WDAM)

HATTIESBURG MS (WDAM) - A number of Arnold Line Water Association customers tried once to oust the utility’s board of directors, accusing it of being unresponsive at best and criminal at worst in dealing with its members.

Now, after having that October petition asking for the board’s removal tossed aside on legal technicalities, that pool of customers is pushing another petition drive.

A copy of the petition will be at the Jackie Dole Sherrill Center in downtown Hattiesburg on Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 220 W. Front St.

The previous petition was disallowed when legal representatives of Arnold Line declared that the signatures had not been collected according to state guidelines, and therefore, were invalid.

The new petition drive will ensure that members’ names, addresses and account numbers were at hand and valid.

A copy of the petition also will be available for signing at the Public Service Commission’s Hattiesburg office at 17 J.M. Tatum Industrial Drive in Hattiesburg starting Wednesday morning.

The movement needs 5 percent of Arnold Line members to provide signatures to meet state requirements. The association bills a 2,400-member mix of residential and business customers. For the petition to succeed, it would need about 120 customer signatures. The petition will be available until that five percent requirement is reached.

The water association has come under fire by customers unhappy with services, especially a policy by Arnold Line that a member must present a bill or account number to pay. That requirement is prohibited by state law.

Arnold Line had agreed to no longer enforce the in-house policy, but the Public Service Commission still is receiving complaints about the practice.

In October, PCS Commissioner/Southern District Sam Britton convened a public hearing to investigate complaints against Arnold Line.

The first petition was presented asking for a special meeting to be held to call for a vote to remove the current board.

But during the meeting, the board said certain requirements of the Mississippi Non-profit Act had not been met, making the petition invalid.

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