Councilwoman Miller would not approve B. Accounts Payable due to the Local Option Fuel Tax funds not being used properly so she stated she would not vote for acceptance.
Walter McKenzie essentially mentioned to Councilwoman Miller that a simple “No” vote would be sufficient.
When Joe Griffin had an opportunity to speak he had indicated that the Department of Revenue had indicated that the FBI should be contacted. I mentioned, after the meeting to Councilor Bullard that the Department of Transportation said that the Town of White Springs is not handling their LOFT funds correctly and referred us to the Department of Revenue, who told us to contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which we did. We also had another phone call from a referral from DOT and the agent advised us to not only provide the information to a special unit but called us back and asked whether we had contacted the FBI. The Town is not using the funds appropriately, however, it has been just Joe Griffin and I who have been working with the Department of Transportation who wishes the misspending of Funds by White Springs handled. The Auditor General advised us that the Town would have to pay the misspent money back which is probably in excess of $700,000.
However at meetings, Councilwoman Miller has continually question the spending of LOFT funds, primarily because of her reading the Statute appertaining to Local Option Fuel Tax. Miller was told by Councilor Bullard that if she did not believe what the CPA and the Attorney have advised that she should contact the Department of Revenue.
Councilwoman Miller stated that she would not make any more contacts to the State Agencies due to the fact that she had been chastised and Mayor Lofton advised her that he would place an ethics complaint on her for writing to the Attorney General. Mayor Lofton, as always, indicated he did not tell her that, but we all were at that meeting and she was not only threatened with the forfeiture of her council seat by Rhett Bullard but by the Ethics complaint by Mayor Lofton.
Mayor Lofton was upset with the fact that his actual statements in the former meeting were brought up and when he lied that he did not say that to Councilwoman Miller, he pointed his index finger at her which promulgated her, Miller, to ask him to quit pointing his finger at her because it was threatening.
Councilwoman Miller stated that if the Town had to pay the money back it would not only cause a liability to the town but it would cause an extraordinary hardship on the Citizens of the Town. She said that the Attorney General would require repayment, but essentially in our discussions it was the Auditor General who told us the money would have to be repaid by White Springs. However Councilwoman made a logical assessment that the money would have to be repaid to the State without contacting the State. The only reason no agency has taken this over is because they have no audit facilitation and thus the Department of Revenue and the Auditor General along with the Department of Transportation has requested the Federal Bureau of Investigation handle the matter.
Then Councilor Bullard ended up in a flustered rant about the fact that since the Accounts Payable had not been approved because of the 2/2 vote, Bullard asked if he was supposed to ask for the checks bacl which were already prepared and given to the payees prior to the meeting? Miller stated that Mayor Lofton and Rhett Bullard could handle it in the manner which it pleased them but that she was not in favor of voting to approve the Accounts Payable which has used LOFT funds and that she would leave it in Bullard’s trusty hands. Now we know that the meeting approvals are just a matter of ceremonial nonsense since the actions of issuing a check and paying whomever are done before such checks are approved by the council. Way to go Attorney Bullard!
Karin for the blog