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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.

 

Commissioner Carl 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 each month. 
 

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