The City of Camden and Entergy appear to be at odds over streetlights, according to comments made at Tuesday's City Council meeting.
During old business, Alderman Laurence Askew asked about the condition of street lights in Camden.
"It's black around my house, " Askew said, "Not pinpointing nobody, but until we come up with a solution to get something done... "
Camden Code Enforcement Officer Ben Wooten stated,"Our solution is not to deal with Chris Wasson."
Wasson is the Customer Service Representative for South Arkansas
Wooten added, "That's who we go to when we have a problem. We've had three meetings with Chris Wasson. He told us three different ways to enter the lights that are bad," he said. "We agreed. We had an agreement on how we were going to work through this process. We went out , wrote everything down,"
Wooten said two city employees entered data for two days for locations of unlit light poles, but claims that Wasson deleted the entries.
He said,"Ms. Yolanda called me one day and said '[Wasson] deleted all the lights," Wasson.
Wooten then alleged that Wasson deliberately deleted the entries. stating, "They don't want the company to see how many lights are out in the city."
Wasson denies those allegations stating, "That's not accurate at all."
Wasson stated that in the summer of 2021 the method for reporting street light outages was changed from a fax number to an email system, in which municipalities could email Entergy and a work order would be produced.
"I sent that email to the city and copied the mayor in July of 2021 and continued to follow up with the city letting them know this is the process and I also sent subsequent emails," Wasson said.
"One of the people I deal with, Ben Wooten, said 'Well, we're faxing them in.' I said 'No, you can't fax them in anymore.'"
Wasson said it was decided during a meeting with city officials that the city of Camden would would mark a map of all the disabled lights and Entergy would work from that map ; when tickets starting showing up in the system they were deleted to avoid a backlog.
He stated, "I called the mayor back and the city back and said 'Just checking on the status of the map. That was the plan, that we would work all the lights that were out based on this map. Then going forward we would work on reporting them properly. ' They said, 'Well, we just changed the plan and decided we would report them.'"
Wasson said he contacted Mayor Julian Lott, who told him they were still commited to the plan involving the map.
Wasson also said he has sent several follow up emails to the city with no response.
Currently around 300-400 of the 1,497 street lights in Camden are non-functioning.