No budget progress made at special session meeting

LOCAL NEWS — The Metro Council closed the books on the current budget during Wednesday’s Special Session meeting held at the Lynchburg Legion Building at 5:30 p.m. Four members were absent including Metro Council Chair Denny Harder and Chair Pro Tem Amy Cashion. As such, County Clerk Nancy Hatfield ran the meeting. Meghan Bailey and Houston Lindsey were also absent.

In what Metro Mayor Bonnie Lewis deemed as “housecleaning items with no effect on expenses” the Metro Council approved a slew of year-ending budget amendments that included items like salary line transfers for overtime pay during COVID, a Metro Jail water leak, an insurance claim on the Moore County Jail Museum, increased part time hours in the Metro Assessors office, and other items.

“Lots of contracts and final invoices come through in the finals days of June,” Mayor Lewis explained. “If any bills come in the next 30 days, if the actual service happened in this fiscal year, they are entered in the 2020-21 budget.”

Keith Moses made a motion to accept the budget amendments and John Taylor seconded. The motion carried but got no votes from Tommy Brown and Peggy Sue Blackburn.

Audit Committee Chairman Pam Case appeared before the Metro Council with the latest audit from the State Comptroller’s office. To see a copy of that audit, click here. Case presented two findings both related to the Metro Water and Sewer Department. One stated that MUD did not provide the accounting records for auditors to review in a timely basis. The other stated that two MUD employees processed transactions under a single username.

Following Case’s presentation, Mayor Lewis stated that the delay in providing records was due to new software and COVID restrictions in fiscal 2020-21. She also explain that same username happened during training a new MUD employee and would be corrected moving forward.

Mayor Lewis also asked the Metro Council to add Lynchburg Friends of Animals to the list of Metro Moore County non-profits contributions. During fiscal 2020-21 Metro paid the local animal rescue $7,000 for rabies and animal control. Bradley Dye made the motion to add Lynchburg Friends of Animals and Sunny Rae Moorehead seconded it. The motion carried but got no votes from Peggy Sue Blackburn.

The next regular session Metro Council meeting will take place on July 19. The deadline to approve the 2021-22 Metro Budget passed on June 30. The Metro Budget passed a single reading on June 14 but requires three separate readings for final approval. Metro Moore will continue to operate under the current tax rate of $2.38 until a new rate passes three separate readings or September 1, whichever comes first.

“It it’s not resolved by then, the state will step in and do it for us,” Metro Attorney John T. Bobo explained to the Council during the regular July meeting.

Questions? Contact your district’s Metro Council member. A full list of contact information can be found at the County Technical Assistance Service (CTAS) website for Moore County. •

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