The Ramsey County Commission unanimously agreed to table a decision to pay a $27,000 bill from a Grand Forks company Tuesday during its regular meeting.

The Ramsey County Commission unanimously agreed to table a decision to pay a $27,000 bill from a Grand Forks company Tuesday during its regular meeting. Commissioner Ed Brown made the motion to hold off on paying the bill and bring in the three parties involved to discuss the situation. The motion passed with all five commissioners voting for it.

The $27,000 bill currently sitting in front of the county comes from Stone's Mobile Radio in Grand Forks for two-way radio equipment purchased in 2012. Commissioners agreed that the situation resulted from the different individuals involved "getting their wires crossed."

Through a Homeland Security grant offered to Ramsey County in 2011, the county received $162,000 to purchase emergency radio equipment for its departments. According to the commission, after the departments received the ordered radios and accessories, Ramsey

County Emergency Manager Kristen Nelsen received a call from the state near the end of the grant period. She was then told that the county had $27,000 left through the grant to spend on radio equipment or the funds had to be returned.

After Stone's Mobile Radio was called and a company representative told the county that there were no invoices left, the remaining grant money was used towards the purchase of additional equipment for Ramsey County.

More than a year after all equipment was installed, an invoice from Stone's Mobile Radio for $27,000 was received. The original invoice was misplaced by the company and never billed to the county when the Emergency Management Office called Stone's Mobile Radio to check on its balance.

At a Ramsey County Commission meeting earlier this month, a representative from Stone's Mobile Radio agreed to cut $4,400 from the county's bill due to a mistake made by the office.

That ultimately leaves a little more than $22,000 to be paid.
Legally, the invoice is valid even if sent a year after the products and services were provided by the company. If left unpaid, Stone's Mobile Radio would have up to four years to sue over the dispute, according to Ramsey County State's Attorney Lonnie Olson.

After a lengthy discussion, the commission felt that it was best to invite Nelsen,  Stone's Mobile Radio management and a representative from the state to discuss the situation. At that point, the discussion and decision was tabled until a later date.

"At least by bringing everyone into one room, we're showing the taxpayers of Ramsey County that we are looking out for their money," Commissioner Brown stated.