By Jean A. Flanagan
Calls for the accounting of finances and transparency in actions have grown louder at the Wardensville Council meetings. The council met Monday, March 10.
Pastor, former Councilman and candidate for Town Recorder David Twedt has repeatedly asked for financial statements, account balances and fund allocations, to little avail.
“The town has a $100,000 line of credit that we maxed out over the last three years,” he said at the meeting. “What has that money been used for? In 2010, the balance (used) was $27,000. In 2013 the balance was $99,940.”
Wardensville Office Manager Jody Copeland said $20,000 was used as matching funds for the Conference and Visitors Center.
“We can get that information to you at the next meeting,” Mayor Tracey “Scotty” Miller said.
“I’ve received a report on the water and sewer fund, but there is no change in the Restricted Fund for Depreciation,” Twedt said. “I think a certain percentage of the money collected needs to be put in that fund every month.”
“I can get details for the April 15 meeting,” Miller replied. “We’ve used a lot of money to repair leaks and for upgrades.”
Part of the problem was the sudden resignation of longtime Town Recorder John Sayers in June last year. Sayers served as Wardensville Recorder for 21 years. Previous to Sayers resignation, information regarding the town’s financial status was distributed at every council meeting.
“When John was recorder, he gave reports every month,” commented Vicki Dyer.
Elizabeth Fridley was appointed to take Sayers’ place, but has been unable to keep up with the demands of the job.
As a result, the council contracted with Sayers to help with some of the accounting duties. For the first three months – July through September 2013 – Sayers worked as a volunteer. When it was evident the town still needed his help, he was asked to stay on for $300 a month. The term was to be from October 2013 to March 2014.
“John is under contract to help with payroll,” Miller said. “The stuff John does, I don’t know how to do.”
Twedt asked when the council voted to hire Sayers and it was determined from a review of the minutes, a vote was never taken in open session. “That needed to be discussed in open session and voted on by the town council,” Twedt said.
“It has been eight months since John resigned. One financial report in eight months is unacceptable. You don’t have any idea where we are. You haven’t gotten a report for eight months.”
Dan Cassell suggested the town hire an accountant to straighten out the books.
Paul Yandura also suggested the town get “outside help” to establish a manageable accounting system.