Wednesday, August 05, 2009

August 5, 2009 Drugs, Planning Commission, Koch Foods Sewer Bill, Interim City Administrator, City Audit, Sheriff's Race in 2010

Drugs: Mexico to Morristown (via Atlanta). The Knoxville News-Sentinel report is here. [Here's the Trib link. Catch it while you can---- the Trib disables its links quickly.]

John Cahill recently resigned from the Morristown Regional Planning Commission. He was appointed to the post by former Mayor John Johnson. Mayor Sami Barile appointed Katy Tindall to replace Cahill.

Koch Foods is contesting its huge sewer bill. According to the Trib, the Koch Foods administrative hearing will take place on August 28 (no time or place was mentioned). This involves a dispute over months and months of unpaid sewer bills for the Koch Foods chicken processing plant in the East Tennessee Progress Center. Apparently, Koch Foods is disputing the city's calculation of charges. Koch claims that it is being billed for all wastewater coming out of the East Tennessee Progress Center near I-81 and all wastewater coming from businesses at Exit 8 near I-81.

Buddy Fielder was recently appointed as interim City Administrator by departing City Administrator Jim Crumley. Fielder will serve until a new permanent city administrator is named.

The City, after considering switching audit firms, has decided to stay with Craine, Thompson & Jones. CTJ will be paid $36,000 for the annual audit and promises to get the fiscal year 09 (FY 09) audit in on time if MUS turns in its numbers by December 1, 2009. Several months ago, Crumley blamed the auditors for the lateness of the FY 08 audit that was not available until June 2009. CTJ in turn blamed MUS. It is my opinion that auditors should be switched about every 3-5 years as a matter of policy. See my May 12 and April 29 posts.

On top of the $36,000 direct cost of the CTJ audit, CPA Joe Swann will again be paid to help city staff "close the books" at the end of the fiscal year. Swann was reportedly paid $10,000 last year for helping city budget staff close the books. It looks like the more fancy accounting software and gadgets you get, the more help you need in using them.

With its budget and financial staff, why does the city have to hire and pay Joe Swann or anyone else $10,000 to "close the books" at the end of the accounting year? If city personnel don't know how to close the books, the city should ask for help from the software supplier (MUNIS) or pay for the training that would enable the staff to "close the books" and save the city taxpayers $10,000 per year.

And Ernie Burzell has announced that he will be a candidate for Sheriff in 2010 in the Democrat primary.

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