Following an executive session lasting approximately a half of an hour, the Delbarton Town Council Monday night voted to table the appointment of someone to fill a vacancy on the governing board.
The vacancy on the council was created on July 1 when re-elected incumbent Councilman Mark Sizemore tendered his resignation to Mayor Elmer Ray Spence prior to the council’s organizational meeting for the new term.
Sizemore, who has served on the council for 29 years, cited the desire to spend more time with his family as the reason for his decision not to be sworn in for another term.
After the closed-door discussion, members of the council were unclear as to how they wanted to proceed. Councilman Albert Totten made a motion to make a decision at that time, however, that motion died for a lack of a second.
Totten then made a second motion to table the decision on a replacement until the next council meeting on July 29. That motion met the approval of the remaining members of the council.
“This will give
members of the council more time to talk people about the position,” Spence said. “Also, if anyone wants to be on the council, they should talk to one of the members of the council so they can be considered.”
In addition to trying to decide upon a replacement for Sizemore, the council discussed the town’s financial condition at length.
Jo Mahon, town accountant, told the council a $20,000 transfer from the Rainy Day Fund account to the General Funds account was needed to pay the June 2019 bills in order for her to close out the town’s fiscal year which ended June 30.
Totten said that council has already had to dip into the Rainy Day Fund several times in order to pay expenses. Records show that $65,000 was transferred between the accounts during the last fiscal year.
“We need more income and I don’t know where we are going to get it,” Mahon said. “We’re not going to get it from B and O (business and occupational) taxes. We’re not going to get it from coal severance. We’re not going to get it from excise tax.”
She said that B and O tax payments are due to come in during this month as the last quarter ended in June, but cautioned they will not be enough for the town to operate efficiently.
“We have never gotten enough money from B and O to cover the last month of the quarter,” Mahon said.
Also during the discussion, it was discovered that funds generated by an administrative fee placed on traffic citations — which by ordinance is to be used only for the purchase of police equipment, supplies, maintenance and training — has apparently been used for other purposes.
The council had earmarked a portion of the more than $6,700 that was reported to be in that account during its special meeting on June 5 to purchase new Tazers for the police department.
According to Mahon, the revenues from the administrative fees are deposited into the General Funds accounts and were used for routine expenses.
“I guess when the council didn’t have money to pay its bills, it did what it had to do even though it was earmarked for the police department,” Spence said.
Totten, along with Councilmen Ralph Maynard and Glen Dale Canada (all of whom had sat on the previous council), said they were told the money was in that account in June and that is why they approved the purchase of the Tasers.
“The former mayor said about $6,000 had been collected and there was enough money for the Tazers. If we used it inappropriately, then we should take money of out of the Summit (the bank which holds the Rainy Day Fund) account,” he continued. “That money has to be put back where it should be.”
In order to cover the amount needed for the town’s normal operations, to replace the administrative fees and to provide funds for the upcoming Delbarton Homecoming, Maynard made a motion to transfer $27,000 from the Rainy Day Fund to the General Fund.
The council also voted, once funds are transferred, that a special account will be set up for the administrative fees. As part of that action, expenditures from that special account will only be used as outlined by the ordinance that created the fee.