07/18/06 — Transportation Authority will collect on some overdue payments

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Transportation Authority will collect on some overdue payments

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on July 18, 2006 1:48 PM

The Goldsboro-Wayne Transportation Authority is owed more than $35,000 by an advertising agency and several local organizations. Members said they hope to collect the money before the authority meets again in September.

Highet and Kracker, an advertising firm based in North Carolina., owes the authority about $10,000. Authority Director Stephen Wright said he is considering filing a class action lawsuit along with other transit systems that are owed money by the company.

Highet and Kracker has a contract with the authority to place ads on the system's buses and vans, Wright said. The company is supposed to pay the authority throughout the year, he said, but it hasn't sent a check since the beginning of the year.

"We got one check for $2,800 in January, and we're supposed to get checks monthly. There for a while, I had been talking to them on a weekly basis. I had been told the checks were coming and they haven't been, so I talked to (County Attorney) Borden (Parker) and, apparently, we're not the only transit system this has happened to," Wright said.

The authority board approved Wright's request to file a lawsuit seeking the money owed.

"They haven't done what they agreed to do in the contract, so I consider that a breach of contract," Wright said.

Even if the issue with Highet and Kracker is not resolved, Wright said it could be possible to seek bids from other local advertising firms to replace the contract.

The authority provides rural transportation to many county organizations and some of them also owe money to the authority, Wright said.

The Wayne Opportunity Center has owed money to the authority since April.

The authority provides transportation for the center's clients.

The amount owed has increased each month to a total of about $6,000. Another branch of the Wayne Opportunity Center has also let its debt to the authority accumulate since February. That branch owes the organization more than $19,000.

John Chance of the Wayne Opportunity Center and an ex-officio member of the authority said he didn't believe his organization owed that much money, but that he would work to make sure the debt was paid.

Wright said the authority has had talks with officials at the Wayne Opportunity Center over the past week, and he is confident that the issue should be resolved before the authority's next meeting in September.

The authority does not have any collection measures in place, but, Wright said, collecting money that is owed has never been a problem for the organization.

By subsidizing its transportation through the help of state grants, Wright said the authority will not have to stop service for local residents or organizations.