Review of December 2, 2014 Board Meeting: The NSF Edition

If you thought the mayor and board would be on their best behavior for the last meeting of the year but think again. The first agenda item was a violation of the Open Meeting Act. Not because they went into executive session, but because they went into executive session to discuss personnel with Sheriff Riegel. Last time I checked, he wasn't employed by the City of Lumberton. After 45 minutes in executive session, they returned with their usual line, no action was taken. There was a surprisingly brief update from Gary Hickman. The board approved the use of Wood Hinton Park on December 13, 2014 for a Car and Bike Show sponsored by Chris Wright of Wright's Custom Woodwork. The show is to benefit veterans. For more information ,contact Chris Wright.

The department heads gave their reports. Not much has changed in the police department. The officers are doing ticket blitzs, so please buckle up. Danny Davis said they're in a crunch because businesses are no longer giving them credit because the charge accounts are not getting paid. He asked the mayor if he could sign a check in an emergency situation because they can only get parts C.O.D. Mayor Winston said he would need board approval but that's not true. The mayor has the authority to sign checks up to $1,500 without board approval. The public works department is short because Roy Easley is out because of an illness. The board should have discussed his situation in executive session, but since they didn't, we all know that Roy is suffering from an abdominal aortic aneurysm and he filed a worker's comp claim that was denied because an AAA generally comes from high blood pressure and smoking. I think discussing these matters openly was also a HIPPA violation. Praying for Roy's recovery and hopefully, he can start the retirement process. I found it interesting that Danny and Merlene were fighting tooth and nail to get Roy 12 weeks of paid sick leave but I fought hard battle to try and help Harry Wilkes get his sick pay and he never received all his pay. Roy has a worker's comp claim on file and if it's approved, after appeal, he will be paid retroactively. If the City of Lumberton paid him before the claim is proceeded, do they seriously think he's going to return the money? When Danny was giving his report, he failed to mention that former public works employee, Perry McLemore, had passed away. Please keep his family in your prayers.

City clerk, Merlene Wall, gave a report of the city's finances. According to her report, there's $44,510.26 in general fund, $3,200.49 in accounts payable, $37,642.36 in WSOM, $25,570.95 in water deposit fund, $965.74 in the unemployment account and $14,849.35 in payroll. The total in available funds is $99,741.84. The board approved unpaid claims for October, $45,914.12 and November, $77,923.78, for a total of $123,837.90; then add $20,482.71 for health care and life insurance, the total is now $144,320.61. There was also an order to approve paid claims of October, $53,026.99 and November, $17,098.73. The payroll for October is $$48,914.12 and November, $53,463.31. Based on the availability of funds and the bills they approved to pay, that's a deficit of $114,704.52. Where is this money going to come from? They didn't have a millege rate increase, 17 privilege licenses are expired, they've borrowed from WSOM, and no more money is coming in until February, 2015. How can they be out of money and they just adopted a new budget in September? Also, the board is trying to borrow money but were denied becaude of delinquent payments on current loans. This will be the second fiscal year this board overspent their budget. Are they going to blame the previous board....again? Someone's not getting paid or checks are going to start bouncing. In addition to already being overextended, the board voted to approve their contract with BBI. Support for the software is $7,380, hardware support is $5,900, effective January, 2015. Again, where is the money coming from?

The board accepted the new contract with Media 3. The order to pay $807.55 for a 2 day workshop for the city clerk ended with a tie vote and Mayor Winston refused to break the tie. The board tabled the motion to review the Personnel Handbook because of a pending legal matter in June. During citizens comments, Mayor Winston said no one has inquired about the Cooper property this month, but said when other offers were made, it didn't offer enough employment. I'm thinking 3-4 jobs, plus a taxable business, is better than zero jobs but I'm not the mayor. The meeting was adjourned.

Comments

  1. What's the point in paying for training for Merlene. She's not going to know any more after training anyway. Glad they said no because it would be a waste of money.

    ReplyDelete
  2. When was the last tax increase? A tax increase or a water rate increase appear to be the only options available.

    ReplyDelete

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