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Jellico still facing audit issues

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By Beth Braden

Alderman Alvin Evans called on the Lord when he realized a resolution to bring the city into compliance with the state comptroller would pass.

“God Almighty!” he said after Alderman Charles Vermillion voted yes.

The move comes after the state comptroller’s office notified the town in June a line of credit from First Volunteer Bank had not been obtained correctly.  Instead of a line of credit, the town needed to have made the amount capital outlay.

“This [resolution] covers the building and the pavement, which covers the line of credit and the debt at First Volunteer Bank,” said Mayor Les Stiers.

In September 2011, the aldermen voted to allow Stiers to obtain a loan for $359,197.15 for a building and paving projects. At the time, Evans voted in favor of obtaining the loan.

City attorney Terry Basista joined the meeting via speakerphone at Evans’ request.

“If the goal is to keep out of trouble with the comptroller’s office, then they’ve given you all the option to pass these resolutions to do this,” Basista said. “I’m sure there will be consequences either way you go.”

Since borrowing the money, $116,435.64 has been repaid. Friday’s meeting retroactively turned the loan into a capital outlay project, thus bringing the town into compliance with the law.

The measure passed with Aldermen Tommy Bowlin, Pam Carbaugh and Charles Vermilion voting yes. Evans and Vice Mayor Venita Johnson voted against the resolution. Alderman Darrell Byrge was absent.

“Honestly, it’s always better to keep straight with the comptroller’s office,” Basista said.

Town officials do not know what would have happened if the resolution had failed to pass. Basista speculated there could have been legal measures taken against the town.

“They most likely would have taken some punitive action or taken a stronger stance on it some way,” he said.

Jellico faces a similar issue regarding the purchase of a John Deere tractor from several years ago. That issue will be dealt with at the regularly scheduled meeting on Sept. 20.