City ‘finds’ cash; hires financial planning expert

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 SHEPHERDSVILLE - Sometimes you lose money and other times you find it.

For the city of Shepherdsville, finding a pair of certificates of deposit couldn’t have come at a better time.

Finding certificates of deposit for both the general fund and the sewer department, city officials were breathing a little easier.

By a 4-1 vote, the council also agreed to retain Public-Finance.com to assist in looking at financing options.

The discussions Monday came on the heels of the projected $4 million shortfall in revenue for the city of Shepherdsville.

Councilmembers were able to pay some more bills, including a $200,000 payment to Judy Construction, part of a $1.2 million bill for its work at the sewer treatment plant expansion.

Despite reservations from mayor Scott Ellis, the council approved the hiring of Marty Brown’s firm.

Ellis said the city had just laid off seven people and departments were being asked to make immediate cutbacks. Then the city council goes and hires a financial firm at $150 per hour.

“I think we’re way out of line,” said Ellis. “I think we need to research this.”

Ellis said there are other companies that might do the same work for a lower cost.

But councilman Alan Wetzel said the financial experts are different than auditors. He said they are there to help the city find long-term financing.

Councilman Larry Hatfield didn’t know how long the city could hold off.

“If you hold up much longer, you’re going to answer to the federal people,” Hatfield said in reference to its EPA mandates on the sewer system.

“I’m for hiring him,” said Hatfield “There’s answers the city will need...the long-term is what I’m worried about.”

Councilman Don Cundiff said he strongly favored hiring an expert to do what the council and mayor can’t do.

“We will need a bond issue and we must have someone who knows a lot about that type of financing,” said Cundiff. “If this was my personal business, I feel we need a professional.”

The council agreed to place a $15,000 cap on the expenses.

Councilman Bernie Brown did not vote on the issue. Brown disclosed that the financial planner is his wife’s son-in-law.

Not everyone in the standing-room only audience were pleased with what they were hearing.

Gaynell Rummage presented information on a $30,000 piece of equipment purchased by the city in 2009. None of the councilmembers who were in office mentioned any knowledge of the purchase.

Glenn Fleming said he was not in favor of a financial planner. And he said the people in the city want to know who is responsible for the mess.

On Monday: A look at some suggestions on how the city might continue to pull itself out of the current financial situation.