Maybe the State wouldn’t do anything because of a Citizen’s complaint; but our Town Attorney just admitted to our violations of LOFT

Joe has already indicated that Karen Hatton has written a letter to attorney General Ashley Moody, wherein questions were raised on the Local Option Fuel Tax issue, but under which Ms. Hatton used the incorrect law.   This is what she stated:

“July 2, 2019

Dear Attorney General Moody.

 

The Town of white Springs is asking for clarification on the following question.

May proceeds from the Local Option Fuel Tax (LOFT) authorized in 336.025 (7), Florida statutes, be used to partially fund municipal management, legal and operating expenditures, staff clothing and consumables, registration and travel expenses for staff attending conferences and training? (Can you believe it?  “Partially funding municipal management” is not the case; we only spent $6,000 in three or four years on “transportation”) In other words, do the operations of the Town associated with the LOFT include any of those listed in the previous sentence?

The Town’s Auditor has indicated that the term “operations” appears to be a very large umbrella and encompasses a broad range of services including management.  He has searched the attorney General opinions and found none to the contrary. (rather amazing she admitted this about our CPA; Per the Department of Revenue, CPA’s are supposed to know the rules and what is supposed to be done and this operations thing is not something within the intent of the statute.)

The Town’s Attorney has also searched the Attorney General opinions and has not found anything on-point to indicate what the Town is currently doing is incorrect.  However, there are still concerns of some Council members who want assurances the funds are being properly utilized. (Remember when Tom Moore was concerned about our admitting how we have used these funds?  Remember also when it was stated a general letter with inquiries would be made and not admissions.  I guess our attorney felt that admissions were the only manner in which these questions could be raised; Now, if this goes against her, and the State wants their money back, it was Karen Hatton that put us in this hole; not Helen Miller who made no admissions in her letter of inquiry, as Hatton has.  No wonder the State or Attorney General has not yet responded to Ms. Hatton.) 

(And now we have another repeat to solidify that we are doing it all wrong.)  Of special concern to the Council is that LOFT revenue is being used for management and operating expenditures, specifically compensation for the town manager, town clerk/finance director, administrative assistant, and public works staff; staff clothing and designer water, and registration and travel expenses for staff attending conferences and training.

Also some LOFT revenue is being used for public transportation operations and maintenance, roadway and right-of-way-drainage and traffic signs, traffic engineering, traffic signals and all costs associated with pavement markings. (More admissions by including “maintenance”; but where has the Town actually done any of these public transportation operations or even maintenance, etc.?)

An Attorney General opinion is requested in order to assure the Council that the proceeds from LOFT are being used properly.

Respectfully Submitted

Karen D. Hatton

Attorney for the Town of White Springs

cc :  Town Council members

Town Manager, Stacy Tebo”

 

Karin for the blog

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