It's lots of bickering, back and forth that's causing the City of Mobile some big bucks.
The Alabama Department of Environmental Management is seeking 475 thousand dollars in fines from Mobile for missing the deadline to come up with the new stormwater management contract.
"I was not surprised that ADEM took action. The mayor has warned the council twice in two separate letters," said Chief Asst. City Attorney Florence Kessler.
Take Exhibit A: Two letters sent by Mayor Sam Jones to city council members urging them to pass the contract. He submitted the contract to the city council on March 5th. The deadline was March 30th. It wasn't approved until last week, on May 2nd.
Part of the delay had to do with failed litter traps and stuffed sewers. The new contract allows The Mobile Group, the company currently managing our stormwater system to continue doing so, but city and county officials questioned if they were fit for the job.
Another delay, according to city council member John Williams, had to do with time.
"We must take the time necessary, so that everyone understands the contract is going to be meaningful, that it's going to be something that we can afford to execute, and that it's going to result in clean water," said Williams.
Next take Exhibit B: The letter sent to ADEM by the director of public services John Bell. The letter list items in the compliance plan that were not met and blames the city council for not approving a new contract. Casi Calloway with Mobile Baykeeper believes the fines are in order because the money will benefit the city.
"The majority of the fine, 300 thousand dollars of it is going right back into our community, to do the cleanup work that the city should have been doing in the first place," said Calloway.
"What needs to happen it ADEM needs to withdraw it's petition at the courts," said Councilman Williams.
And of course that hasn't happened, Exhibit C orders Mobile to pay up. The other 175 thousand dollars of the 475 thousand will go to ADEM.