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Audit report leads to some LJ changes in fire account

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By Alex Wimsatt

 LEBANON JUNCTION - A deficiency in Lebanon Junction’s 2011-2012 audit report recently prompted council members to tighten their grip on the Lebanon Junction Fire Department’s finances. 

The council voted 5-0 to take control of a fire department checking account that had for years been used at the fire chief’s discretion during the October regular meeting of the Lebanon Junction City Council.

Council action came after auditor Cheryle Beauchamp of the Elizabethtown accounting firm Stiles, Carter and Associates presented the city’s annual audit report for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, which ended June 30. 

Beauchamp said there were a couple of deficiencies regarding internal control over financial reporting.

“A deficiency in internal control exists when the design or operation of a control does not allow management or employees, in the normal course of performing their assigned functions, to prevent or detect and correct misstatements on a timely basis,” the audit report states. 

Beauchamp emphasized that a deficiency of internal control does not mean the city is in poor financial shape, adding that the city’s finances appeared in good shape. 

“The City continues to be financially sound,” the audit report states.

Noting that the city does not control the financial activity of the fire department, Beauchamp said her firm found a $1,200 fire department check for contract labor written to “cash.” 

 

Additionally, the audit report shows that no money was received during the year for fire department runs or fund raisers and that invoices for fire runs were not readily available. 

“The City did not have proper procedures in place for monitoring and controlling fire department receipts and disbursements,” the audit report states.

Beauchamp recommended the city designate an individual who possesses suitable skill, knowledge, and/or experience to prepare and account for receipts and disbursements of the fire department.

Councilman Larry Dangerfield made a motion to have City Hall seize control of the municipal fire department’s checking account. The motion passed unanimously with the exception of Tim Sanders, who was absent. 

In other business:

*A month after Randall Logsdon announced his resignation from the council, city officials appointed Tommy Tyler to fill his seat until the end of the year. 

Logsdon announced his resignation effective Oct. 1 during the council’s September regular meeting. 

The former council member resigned because he would no longer be able to attend regular meetings due to a job promotion he recently received. 

Steve Masden made the motion to accept Logsdon’s resignation and Dangerfield motioned to allow Tyler to fill the seat until a new council member is elected and sworn in. 

Both motions passed 4-0. 

*After city officials received complaints regarding the burned and abandoned homes along Railroad Avenue, Mayor Butch Sweat gave an update on what the city’s doing to improve the neighborhood.

Sweat shared with the council that the property at 157 Railroad Ave. would be given to the city if city officials were willing to pay the $4,750 owed in back taxes. 

The council agreed to consider it. 

The property, which is occupied by only the charred remains of what was once a house, is one of a handful of properties that have fallen into disrepair along Railroad Avenue.

*Lebanon Junction Police Chief Donnie Tinnell announced that the police department now has a drop box for unwanted prescription drugs. 

Tinnell encouraged everyone to use the drop box, rather than flush old medicines down the toilet, throw them in the garbage or leave them sitting around to possibly be abused.

The improper disposal of pharmaceuticals has become problematic as studies have shown medications thrown in the toilet or down the sink have contaminating millions of Americans’ drinking water.

  Tinnell said prescription drugs dropped off at LJPD would be incinerated monthly, adding that law enforcement agencies throughout the county have similar drop boxes. 

*The next regular meeting of the Lebanon Junction City Council will be held on Monday, Nov. 5 at City Hall on Main Street. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. The public is invited.