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A failure to communicate about seriously inaccurate water bills has boiled over in the pending resignation of Lake Helen’s city administrator.

Administrator Jason Yarborough announced Sept. 7 his intention to leave the job he’s held for three years.

The residents of Lake Helen Villas, a mobile home park, were under-billed approximately $56,000.

Rumors of Yarborough’s resignation began swirling after a special meeting by the City Commission Friday, Aug. 31, and were confirmed by Yarborough in a press release provided to The Beacon on Friday, Sept. 7.

At the special meeting Aug. 31, discussions of a water billing issue, and of Yarborough’s management, quickly turned contentious.

According to documents provided in the agenda packet for the meeting, faulty utility-billing software caused residents of Lake Helen Villas to be under-billed on their water costs for a year-and-a-half (September 2016 to March 2018). In March, Yarborough was informed of the problem, and city staff began manually uploading meter data.

During the meeting, it became apparent that the City Commission, including the mayor, and representatives of the Villas, were not fully informed of the details of the issue until this August.

City commissioners, at times clearly upset, and occasionally angry, discussed the issue for almost two hours, calling the timeline gap between discovery and disclosure a “serious failure,” and a “violation of the City Charter.”

Yarborough’s resignation, and a separation agreement, will be considered by the City Commission at its meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13. 

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