With $325 In The Bank, Century Gas Department Can’t Make Payroll Or Pay $63K In Bills

July 30, 2019

The Century Town Council held an emergency meeting Monday evening to figure out how to meet the gas department financial obligations with just $325 in the bank. The council also decided what to do about 12 customers receiving free gas, discovered that hundreds of new meters have not been installed and that a corrected gas bill has not been presented to the prison months after a new meter was installed.

Thousands In Bills, Just A Few Hundred In The Bank

With just $325.09 in the bank, the town’s gas department was unable to make its payroll of $5,872.70 or pay $63,287.73 in bills. Bills included $40,944.05 to BP Energy for the natural gas that is sold by the department.

Only July 18, the town council voted to transfer $5,000 per month from the garbage fund to the payroll account to supplement the gas department’s payroll, but the gas department used the extra cash for just one week’s paychecks.

Monday night, the town council voted transfer $40,000 from a special revenue fund and $36,024.68 from the water department to the gas department, plus transfer up to another $20,000 in August and September from the water fund if needed.

A Dozen Homes Receive Free Gas

Gas Superintendent Wally Kellett told the council Monday night that he’s found 12 residential users receiving free gas from the town. Most, he said, are outside the town and receive water from Central Water Works. He said there’s no record of how long the 12 non-paying customers have received free gas, and there’s no record of who the people actually are. He  noted none answered their doors when town representatives knocked.

“They know that they are receiving free gas,” council member Luis Gomez said. “If I’m receiving free gas, do you think I am going to open the door?”

The council voted unanimously to immediately turn off service to the 12 meters. With no records, the individuals won’t be billed for previous usage, but they will be required to come in to town hall, make a deposit, and sign up for a legitimate account.

Where Are The New Meters?

The town purchased 500 new residential natural gas meters and 52 new commercial meters months ago in an effort to increase billing accuracy and revenue. The meters arrived in February.

Kellett said Monday night only 40 of the new residential meters have been installed because he has been busy with his regular job duties.

The council also decided to have the 40 meters that were removed from service tested to determine just how inaccurate they may have been.

Where’s A Correct Prison Bill?

The Century Correctional Institution is by far the largest customer of the town’s utilities. Town accountant Robert Hudson (pictured) estimates the prison’s aging gas meter was not accurately recording usage from 2016 until it was replaced in October 2018. He estimates that adjusting the prison’s bill will mean up to an extra $80,000 in revenue.

Kellett was tasked with creating an adjusted gas bill for the Florida Department of Corrections, but so far he’s been unable to find the time to even start the process.

“I’m working on it,” he told the council. “I am also trying to run a gas department.”

Century’s New Consultant

Monday was the first day for Century’s new consultant, former Gulf Breeze City Manager Edwin “Buz” Eddy, who has promised to help turn the town around. Eddy was unable to attend Monday evening’s emergency council meeting due to a previously scheduled obligation. Monday’s emergency meeting was not scheduled until late Friday afternoon.

Pictured top: Century Gas Department Superintendent Wally Kellett addresses to the Century Town Council on Monday. Pictured inset: Accountant Robert Hudson explains finances to the council. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.


42 Responses to “With $325 In The Bank, Century Gas Department Can’t Make Payroll Or Pay $63K In Bills”

  1. Bg on August 3rd, 2019 11:27 am

    I nominate bandit the goat for Mayor

  2. Chris J on August 2nd, 2019 9:17 pm

    Declare bankruptcy..
    Start over

  3. Vic on August 1st, 2019 9:43 pm

    Why did it take a council vote to turn off the gas of those receiving it for free?

    Century = trash

  4. Kool-Aid on August 1st, 2019 9:14 pm

    Where’s the leadership?

  5. Stumpknocker on August 1st, 2019 2:30 pm

    Someone should step in and put century out of its misery, before they run up credit they don’t have and leave it up to taxpayers to bail them out. They forget who’s money there in charge of, do you think their personal finances look like this.

  6. Linda on August 1st, 2019 5:17 am

    “Thousands In Bills, Just A Few Hundred In The Bank”

    This is so strange – I have the exact same problem . . . What to do?????? Maybe we should all set up a “Go Fund Me” account.

  7. Laughing on July 31st, 2019 12:26 am

    Maybe the answer is in the picture with Mr. Hudson…

    The hand sanitizer they all use to clean their hands of the whole issue.

  8. Concerned customer on July 31st, 2019 12:23 am

    What is the money going to? We have to pay our bill for the use of gas so where’s that money going is my question?

  9. suggestion on July 31st, 2019 12:08 am

    Turn off the gas at the front end gate for the entire system. Fire all the employees in that department. Problem solved.


  10. Really on July 30th, 2019 8:55 pm

    First: if you are aware you are receiving gas that you are not being billed for and you intentionally avoid paying You are committing theft of utilities. These persons should be identified and billed the minimum amount for every month they receive service.
    Second: Mr. Gomez you are a thug and they should probably check the meter at your house to make sure you’re paying.

  11. Kyle Coggins on July 30th, 2019 7:52 pm

    Its time to investigate and restructure the town of Century.Its obvious they need a different group of leadership.

  12. Sad... on July 30th, 2019 7:11 pm

    It’s called working late bud. The rest of America does it on a regular basis. Claiming you can’t work on a problem because your other job duties interfere is hilarious. Guess what, take your work home and get started. This is not a new concept, it’s called life and it sucks sometimes. Not accomplishing your job goal because you cut yourself off at 40 hours a week is not a valid excuse. Also, sounds like the gas dept has some major time management issues…

  13. Dave on July 30th, 2019 6:40 pm

    Contacting Stephen Spielberg on financing a movie on the debauchery that never ends in this mystery of the missing town of Century.

  14. M in Bratt on July 30th, 2019 4:09 pm

    As Members of the Century Town Council, we now take the opportunity to blame Wally for all the ills of the town, and make him the official scapegoat for any problems that come up in the future. It would take a grade school drop out about 15mins to figure out how to reconcile the paying utility customers from the non paying ones. But maybe some or all of these people around the table don’t want who has been getting a free ride identified.

  15. Florida logger on July 30th, 2019 2:00 pm

    Town of century has few hundred in bank account but I assure you Hawkins has thousands in his check and see

  16. Tee bug on July 30th, 2019 1:36 pm

    I wish everyone would quit blaming Mayor Hawkins he has done everything he can do to try and fix the problems in Century everyone is trying to get him on something and guess your not He is probably the nest thing that has ever happened to Century if people would just leave him alone and let him focus on his job.

  17. Bowhunter on July 30th, 2019 1:05 pm

    Just Asking **** Didn’t Century Hire Wally Kellett Back After He Retired From Kentucky Or Tennessee Gas Dept.???????

  18. Chelleepea on July 30th, 2019 11:57 am

    I’m with @my2cents……you go house to house…..that is the only way…….

    As far as Wally not having time…..guess what you make time and stop taking time off . …you maybe fooling the council but not the rest of us…..I know there is regular maintenance that needs to be done but if you prioritize and maybe schedule changing one meter out per day…..it would be done by now…..surely you’re not trying to get more money out of the town with all this delay

  19. Latoya on July 30th, 2019 11:49 am

    I need a new meter been getting ripped off paying 200 just in gas and a another 100 and something in water

  20. Just Saying on July 30th, 2019 11:47 am

    The gas superintendent is a salaried position, is it not? I’m pretty sure that he wants his salary paid each week, right? That means, as anyone in a salaried position well knows, you may have to put in a lot more than the 40 hours you would work in any other position to get that job done. If you don’t want to work 70-80 hours a week, you DON’T accept a salaried position!!!

    I have no experience working in a gas department, but I do have plenty of billing and customer service experience and nearly every job I’ve ever had has been in a supervisory position. I’m highly intelligent and love figuring out how to fix the problems others have made. I grew up in Century and hate seeing “how the mighty have fallen”. Ditch the new “superintendent of apparently nothing” and hire me at a fraction of what I’m sure he’s getting paid and give me one year to show a huge improvement or I leave and you’re no worse off than you were before!!!!!!

  21. My2Cents on July 30th, 2019 10:44 am

    They need to go to each and every house. Get the meter number and see if it is getting bills. If not, turn it off right away. Report back the condition of the meter to see if it should be replaced. Work street by street and get it done ASAP.

    Or better yet get a list of the homes that are paying and shut everyone else off. This way would be faster & more efficient.

    This city is pathetic. It’s a complete joke to not be able to resolve something as simple as this. They should have been going to each home when they found out everyone wasn’t being billed.

  22. chris on July 30th, 2019 10:27 am

    “need to rename the town” – Stench-ury? “Dawning of a new Century, with the same old corruption and ineptitude.”

  23. shaking my head on July 30th, 2019 9:51 am

    So exactly what is that Kellett does that he can’t find the time to do his job? Sounds like there is a desperate need for a new “gas superintendent” who can do their job. Why is he still employed?

  24. sam on July 30th, 2019 9:37 am

    need to rename the town. how about “dysfunctional”?

  25. Willis on July 30th, 2019 9:34 am

    Sad the Town can’t find anyone to do what they are paid to do.

    Or apparently elected to do for that matter.

    Fix the gas problem or shut it down Wally is content to not worry about it.

  26. Chris on July 30th, 2019 9:04 am

    So, at what point is enough enough? If this was a business, it would have gone bankrupt, or shut down a long time ago. I can’t believe that the people of Century haven’t already demanded a recall, to run these bozos out of the office.

  27. cynthia puel on July 30th, 2019 8:35 am

    Why does Wally Kellett still have a job? Such shoddy work in the private sector would not have been tolerated. Tax paying citizens should not be asked to pay the salary for someone too incompetent to handle the job.

  28. retired on July 30th, 2019 8:24 am

    Gas Superintendent Wally Kellett , needs to be relieved of his duties.
    you should be able to replace a new meter (one ) every work day.
    back charge the 12 customers for 12 months, unless they can prove otherwise, or
    arrest them for thief of services. Maybe Hawkins could help install meters??????

  29. Fred Garvin on July 30th, 2019 8:12 am

    Mr. Gomez, I would answer the door. But, I don’t really think my conscience would allow me to steal gas in the first place. The whole entitlement mindset infuriates me.

  30. M in Bratt on July 30th, 2019 8:10 am

    It took months to find 12 freeloading customers. How many years will it take to locate the 100’s more that the town admits are still out there? The freeloader list should be published so that all will see how many of the town’s leaders are on it.

  31. ELW on July 30th, 2019 8:03 am

    What a mess. This is due to city officials who don’t know what they are doing. Paychecks with no responsibility. Hope Mr Eddy can get things straightened out.

  32. Oversight on July 30th, 2019 7:59 am

    Really, only 12 non-paying customers out of 900 plus taps to the gas system, but only billing for around 300? LOL!!! Looks like “Where’s Wally” is in way over his head and good old Buzz is taking Century for a ride. How convenient to be on the dole, but can’t make a meeting. Is this a great country or what?!

  33. James on July 30th, 2019 7:58 am

    Should have voted to fire the gas superintendent. This one obviously is collecting a paycheck and without adequate supervision isn’t performing his duties.

  34. uncle M on July 30th, 2019 7:40 am

    Sounds to me like Mr. Kellett is not running anything except from the truth. Wish I could no do my job and still get paid.

  35. Jake on July 30th, 2019 7:30 am

    Sounds like they are in serious need of some new management at the Gas department.

  36. SW on July 30th, 2019 7:08 am

    This is a failed town. The state should pull the charter, disband it, and sell off assets.
    It is getting painful to watch or read about.
    Kinda like rearranging the deck chairs on the sinking Titanic.

  37. anne 1of2 on July 30th, 2019 6:59 am

    These free gas people, don’t they even have an old gas meter that can be turned off?

  38. anne 1of2 on July 30th, 2019 6:56 am

    Doing your job Mr. Kellett? If this story is correct, you should have been fired years ago

  39. Bewildered on July 30th, 2019 6:44 am

    What a pity the new consultant had previous commitments on his first day on the job. He would have told them to get the freeloaders’s names from their water supplier. But who knows – maybe Central Water Works has the same problem as the gas department.

  40. Williwonka on July 30th, 2019 6:17 am

    Why hasn’t the problems in Century been fixed? It seems to get worse everyday. Who is going to fix it,?

  41. hmmm on July 30th, 2019 1:46 am

    Isn’t it illegal to take special revenue funds, ear marked for a certain purpose and pay employees?

  42. David Huie Green on July 30th, 2019 1:34 am

    Not to be nitpicky, but someone involved really SHOULD pay attention to things like this.

    David for reasonable workmanship

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