Tyronza Council discusses audit finding

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

During Tuesday night's city council meeting in Tyronza, Mayor Marion Bearden informed the council of a letter she received regarding an issue with the the city's legislative audit. Mayor Bearden reported last month that everything was fine with the audit but said Tuesday she had since received a letter which said the city cannot take the interest from a CD and put it into the General Fund.

City Clerk Donna Wood said that according to city records, the CD was set up in February of 2005 and the interest starting going into the General Fund in May of 2006 after she and the mayor were told they could do so.

The interest since 2006 has amounted to nearly $30,000. "We've been audited every year by state auditors, and now we find out this is not allowable," Mayor Bearden said. "Donna and I both know we were told it was okay to do this by someone."

City Attorney Noyl Houston said he would be happy to talk to the auditor and wondered if it could be limited to the past three years due to a statute of limitations. "This was obviously done in good faith on someone's advice. I wonder if we couldn't argue that point and ask them to limit it to this year or up to three years," Houston said.

In other business, Mayor Bearden said she was approached by a citizen regarding School Street being badly in need of repair. The cost of paving the street would be $20,000 whereas the cost of doing a chip and seal would be $5,000. Alderman Charles Glover asked about the possibility of grants, but Mayor Bearden said the current grant cycle for street repairs is for 2016-17 and the road is bad enough it cannot wait that long. She said she would be looking at options.

In old business, the council heard an update on the $30,000 grant the city applied for, which would go toward purchasing a new police car. The grant office told Mayor Bearden they are trying to give grant money to as many cities as they can, and only $10,000 would be available. The $10,000 can go toward a police car or any equipment. Mayor Bearden said the grant application is up for review in October but added that the $10,000 sounded like it was guaranteed.

Regarding the Verizon tower, Mayor Bearden said she received an email from the environmental team which examined the site for the tower. The team found three possible issues with the site: it is near a historic district, the older water tank is a historic structure, and they know Native American burial grounds are in the area but are not sure where. As another option, the team wants to know the height of the tallest water tower in town to see if using that is viable rather than building a new structure.

Alderman Glover also notified the council Marked Tree Mayor Mary Ann Arnold is donating a tractor to the city of Tyronza. "I just want to say thank you to her. We appreciate it very much," Glover said.

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