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Probe: May 17, 2001

May 17, 2001

QUESTION: I am under the Imperial Irrigation District's electric bill averaging plan. Every month I sent extra money to build up credit. I didn't want to end up with a big balance when it came time to settle.

However, when I got my settlement bill, I owed $758. I called but the IID credit office insisted I owe that amount. Can you help me? — Overwhelmed, Imperial County

You didn't give us enough information. Without your name, address and even your account number, we could not address your specific problem. Give us another call.

IID spokesman Ron Hull said people using the plan should keep an eye on it. If your monthly bill is consistently bigger than your "average" payment, you may owe more money.


The monthly average payment is based on last year's use. If something changes, like a move to a bigger house, a change in climate (a colder winter and a hotter summer), you could run up a big settlement balance.

Another factor is the energy adjustment charge. That went up 8 percent in February and it could rise again, Hull said.

QUESTIONS: Please look into what's going on at our church, the New Mount Olive Baptist Church in Brawley.

We fired the minister but he won't leave. We're hiring an attorney to evict him. Union Bank has frozen the church bank account.

The church has temporarily closed its doors. We want an audit to see if church funds are missing. — Church Member, Brawley

Another church member, Gladys Snowden, said the Rev. Wilkie Davis, the 76-year-old pastor of the church, doesn't have to move because he was never fired.

The minister can only be fired by the vote of the congregation members who are in good standing, she said. No such vote was taken.

There is no money missing but the checkbook is gone, Snowden said. When church members reported the controversy and the loss of the church checkbook, the bank froze the checking account.

Both sides agree the bank is trying to sort out the argument to determine who should control the checking account.

Snowden accused church finance director Dorita Arteberry of starting the flap.

Although one faction changed the locks on the church doors and locked the gate with a chain, services were held on the church lawn Sunday.

"We'll continue to hold services if we have to hold them on the sidewalk," Snowden said.

Both sides concede there's not much money to fight over. The church has about 30 members.

KEEPING COOL — The American Legion in El Centro held a barbecue to raise $5,000 to buy an air conditioner to cool our building. We need help to install it. — Veteran, El Centro

This was an easy problem to solve. Before we could ask PROBE readers to help, Bill Harberson, owner of Shelburne Service Experts, offered to install the unit without charge.

Darrel Stalnacker, commander of Boyce Aten American Legion Post 25, estimated the cost of the donated installation at $2,000.

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