Tabled resolution fails, will it affect budget audit?

Published 10:07 am Saturday, June 20, 2020

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Failure of Resolution 2020-034 resulted in some scratching of heads as some spectators wondered if the state comptroller will have a problem come time to audit the current fiscal year budget.
The Claiborne Commission voted 18 to 3 against transferring $9,162.80 from the fund balance to a line item described in the resolution as County Buildings – Consultants. The resolution was tabled last month and brought back for vote after review by the Budget and Finance Committee meetings in May.
If adopted, the resolution would have corrected a portion of the county budget by showing payment of three invoices from the architectural firm BarberMcMurry. The firm was hired by county mayor Joe Brooks to do a preliminary renovation plan of the third floor of the Claiborne County Courthouse,
During the May meeting, a handful of commissioners voiced concerns about the way in which the three invoices were paid. They agreed that the particular line item specified in Resolution 034 could not be found in the county budget.
Mayor Brooks said he had mistakenly put down the wrong line item, meaning to use the one that paid for renovations done last fall at the Claiborne Health Department.
Brooks was referring to Resolution 2019-083 granting $200,000 in state-aid funds to be used solely for renovations at the health department. Using this line-item could have caused additional problems under audit scrutiny.
Brooks said he hired BarberMcMurry as an alternative to the roughly $1 million it would take to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. The county has looked into the costs of renovating all its buildings to become ADA compliant.
Claiborne finance officer Angelia Tucker offered clarification in a statement provided to the Claiborne Progress. Tucker was asked to explain how the failure of the resolution might affect the comptroller findings and if there is an alternate way in which to reconcile the budget.
“Per state statute the legal level of control is the major category and as such this expenditure, approved by the BGP (Buildings, Grounds & Personnel) committee but never previously brought before the full commission, should not result in an adverse finding as that category will have excess funds left over at year end,” Tucker stated in her reply.
She was also asked if there would be a redrafted version of the failed resolution.
“No further resolutions will be presented as this fiscal year is concluded,” she responded in her statement.
The Budget Committee met in regular session the evening following the May meeting of the Claiborne Commission. Looking at the currently “unofficial” Budget Committee minutes, it looks as though the committee members took a short amount of time to address the issue.
In one section, the minutes state that Tucker clarified concerns voiced by some of the members.
“David Mundy asked Angelia Tucker if she could explain the resolution that had been presented the previous evening at the monthly county commission meeting. Each month the finance director looks at the expense lines to see how much has been spent and what is remaining in each line item. Some of the items that were on the resolution could have been changed in a Finance Committee meeting (expenses that were salaries or related to salaries). However, so that the entire commission could see how the money was being moved, the entire line item amounts were put in the resolution and brought to county court,” reads that portion of the minutes.
A short section, having to do with line item 51800 County Buildings, refers to the failed resolution 034.
“There was another question asked concerning the resolution from the previous night’s meeting concerning the architect’s fee. This was placed in line item 51800-308 (Consultants). The money for this was resolute from fund balance (39000),” reads paragraph 2 of this section of the minutes.
According to the minutes, a motion was made to approve the County Buildings line item. Commissioners Anthony Rowe and Charlton Vass made and seconded the motion, respectively. The motion passed unanimously.
The failed resolution had but three supporters during the full Claiborne Commission meeting. Commissioners Whitt Shuford, Charlton Vass and Nathan Epperson voted in favor of adopting Resolution 034.

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