Where is that million dollars that commissioner
Pennamon says is in the bank?
It seems hard to
believe that the county is looking for at least $500,000 in the
budget in order to pay for all necessary expenses. This isn’t hype
or a way to “get at the hospital.” The TWG has had copies of the
budget requests since September, 2004.
In May, 2004, the
landfill submitted a budget and outlined in that budget that the
landfill would have to be closed and capped in 2005.
This is STATE law. Once the landfill takes its last
load, the landfill must be closed within 180 days. The last load
was in November, so the closing should be done by April, 2005.
The cost is estimated to be around $450,000 that the last BOC, in
their haste to spend as much as they could and leave the new
commissioners broke, failed to put in the budget. Yes, there is
supposed to be an account with money in it for closure, but
according to our sources, that fund has been used regularly for
other expenses. The Monticello News reported that Sharon Robinson,
Finance officer, said there was only $52,000 left in the landfill
account. It is now up to the new commissioners to find the money to
pay for this State mandated expense. Commissioner Bennett even had
a comment about how this work had to be done at the December BOC
meeting, so it wasn’t something the old board didn’t know about.
Other items left
out of the budget include the Animal Shelter of around $25,000 and a
lack of money budgeted for legal expenses. The County has several
left over lawsuits including Alcovy Shores, Betty Moon, and at least
one zoning appeal that will all cost money not budgeted.
Pennamon said at the January 18, 2005 BOC meeting that there was $1
million in the bank. Where is it, Mr. Pennamon? We’d like to
see the facts proving that there is $1 million in the bank that the
BOC can use. SPLOST $$ and other funds cannot be
used by the BOC. The last audit dated 12/31/03 showed approximately
$300,000 left in the general fund, plus the $240,000 CD. We know
that the CD is still there. If there were $1 million in the bank as
Mr. Pennamon says, there would have had to been about a $500,000
surplus of revenues over expenses for the year ended 12/31/04. We
find it hard to believe that happened. We’re anxious for an
audit firm to verify the bank balances as soon as possible, and
we’ll be asking for the bank reconciliations to verify what we
report to you. Political rhetoric and accusations have gotten this
new commission off to a rocky start. Hopefully, we’ll start seeing
the campaign promises of monthly financial statements. If
these had been available for the last 2 years, we would have all
known how much was left in the bank and where the money was going