Local News Articles

County Mayor Mike Foster Responds to State Audit Findings

November 8, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Mike Foster

The annual state audit report of DeKalb County government, released last Thursday, reveals fifteen findings and recommendations, including four in the office of the county mayor.

(CLICK THE FOLLOWING LINK TO VIEW THE ENTIRE STATE AUDIT OF DEKALB COUNTY GOVERNMENT)
http://www.comptroller1.state.tn.us/repository/CA/2011/dekalb.pdf

Two of the findings relate to the landfill but County Mayor Mike Foster, in an interview with WJLE Monday, said neither pose major concerns and there are no fines or penalties as a result of them.

The state found that the "Solid Waste Disposal Fund had a deficit of $931,422 in unrestricted net assets as of June 30, 2011. This deficit resulted from the recognition of a liability totaling $3,181,491 in the financial statements for costs associated with closing the county's landfill and monitoring the landfill for 30 years after its closure. Generally accepted accounting principles and state statutes require that such costs be reflected in the financial statements. This deficiency exists due to the failure of management to correct the finding noted in the prior-year audit report".

This is not the first time the county has been "written up" for this. Foster said it has become an annual finding of the state. The county is expected to provide financial assurance of a funding mechanism for performing post-closure corrective action at a closed solid waste landfill that may cause some type of contamination in the future. According to the state, the county is $931,422 short of meeting that obligation, which could come to as much as $3.1 over the next 30 years.

According to Foster, the county has not had to spend a lot of money fixing problems at the old landfill locations, some of which have been closed for decades, and doesn't foresee having to spend anywhere near $3.1 million on them within the next thirty years. "We had a fund balance (money in the bank) of $1,669,863 for the landfill at the beginning of the year. They (state) are saying that it could potentially could take over three million dollars over the next thirty years for post closure where you have to come in and do work on it or something. One of the landfill sites on the Clyde Moore Road has been closed for 21 years but last year was the first money we spent on it since I've been in office. It had settled and we had to put some dirt on it. We spent about $40,000 basically on dirt. They (state) are saying that there could potentially be more than three million dollars in liability but realistically we know that is way too high. They (state) are saying you (county) should put money in the bank to cover that (correcting potential problems) for thirty years. That's not realistic. Even if we ask the state auditor, the supervisor of auditors, and CTAS (County Technical Advisory Service), none of them recommend that you (county) put money in the bank. Its just a finding under the GASB 54 governmental accounting standards program that we have to agree to do. Its just an accounting thing. We've put $200,000 in the budget this year for post closure in case there's a blow out, a leak, or something that would require us to do some work on one of the old cells that has been closed for over twenty years. We have four old landfill cells that are closed and two which are in the act of being closed. The ones now being closed are tied to the landfill we are still using," said Foster.

The second finding in the audit report related to deficiencies in the collection procedures for landfill tipping fees.

The report stated that "In some instances, the landfill did not deposit funds collected for tipping fees within three days of collection. State law requires county officials to deposit public funds to the office bank account within three days of collection. The delay in depositing the funds increases the risks of fraud and misappropriation"

The report further stated that "The County Mayor's Office did not issue receipts for tipping fees received from the landfill. State law required official pre-numbered receipts for all collections. This deficiency increases the risk of fraud and abuse".

According to the report, "Weight tickets generated at the landfill are pre-numbered; however, we noticed a few tickets that were not accounted for properly. Since these tickets were not available for examination, we could not determine their disposition. This deficiency increases the risks of fraud and abuse."

Foster said the county will comply with the state's recommendation" What they (state) are saying is in some instances the landfill did not deposit funds collected for tipping fees within three days of collection. Some days over there (landfill) there may not be any (tipping fees). Other days there are some (tipping fees). They (landfill operators) will usually make one trip over here (courthouse) in a week to bring them in. They were bringing them to our office. They were just turning them in here and we would work them and send out the bills. But they (State) are saying they want the supervisor at the landfill, instead of bring them to us (courthouse) to take them straight to the trustee at least every three days. So instead of him coming here, he's just going to make two trips a week out there (trustee's office). It saves us from having to do an itemized inventory of them and give him a receipt for them when he has already seen them, brought them in, and turned them in. We will follow their recommendations (state) exactly. From now on he will take them to the trustee, and turn them in twice a week so there's no more than three days. Most of the (tipping fee customers) are billed. They have an account and they just bring in the bill. We've had some who will pay, like if they're bring in shingles, they might write a check or pay cash to them (at landfill) and that money is put in a lock box over there which is basically a vault and then turned in later. We've already initiated this, but they (state) want us to keep an individual log. Whoever is working the scales is to put down the ticket number and sign every ticket that goes through there and then he is to log it in so that we have a backup. We had not been doing that. They had just been keeping up with the tickets and then turning them in," said Foster.

A third finding in the audit report related to "the actual beginning fund balances (cash on hand to start the new fiscal year) of the general, local purpose tax, general debt service, and general capital projects funds differing from the estimated beginning fund balances by material amounts. A similar finding was made in the general purpose school and central cafeteria funds in that the actual beginning fund balances at July 1, 2010 exceeded the estimated fund balances presented to the county commission by material amounts.

The actual general purpose fund balance for July 1, 2010 was $2,939,357 compared to the estimated fund balance of $2,388,804, a variance of $550,533

The actual Local Purpose Tax Fund Balance for July 1, 2010 was $1,002,724 compared to the estimated fund balance of $754,347, a variance of $248,377

The actual General Debt Service Fund Balance for July 1, 2010 was $1,495,094 compared to the estimated fund balance of $1,407,016, a variance of $88,078

The actual General Capital Projects Fund Balance for July 1, 2010 was $3,730,040 compared to the estimated fund balance of $4,135,629, a variance of $405,589

The audit report states that "Sound business practices dictate that realistic estimates of beginning fund balances should be presented to the County Commission during the budget process. This deficiency is due to management's failure to correct the funding noted in the prior-year audit report and to properly estimate the actual ending fund balance for June 30, 2010, which resulted in materially inaccurate estimates of beginning fund balances"

The state recommends that "Estimates of the beginning fund balance should be made on a more realistic basis to provide county officials with accurate information to base funding decisions. The estimated beginning fund balance should be amended during the year when it becomes apparent that the original estimate varies from the actual by a material amount."

In response, Foster said actual fund balances for the beginning of the fiscal year cannot be known for certain while budget preparations are underway, and according to the 1993 budget act, the county cannot alter its proposed budget after mid June until after it has been adopted by the county commission in August. "When we start working on budgets, usually in February, we estimate what we think we will have (fund balance) at the beginning of July. Under the laws of the 1993 budget act we cannot do anything to the (proposed) budget after June 15 once we get it situated. We have to approve the budget by the middle of August under the 1993 act. When we put these numbers in here we estimated that we would have $2,388,804 in the general fund balance. We actually has $2,939,357 which is $550,553 more than we said we thought we would have. Part of the reason we had more than expected is because we didn't spend all that amounts that were budgeted. It's the same for the other funds noted in the audit report. We over estimated on three funds and we under estimated on one. We have already made some corrections and we will be correcting these others. All this amounts to is having more money in those funds than we thought we were going to have when we passed the budget. Under the 1993 act, we can't amend the budget after June 15, but we have no way of knowing in June what this is going to be by August," said Foster.

The final audit finding in the office of County Mayor related to "deficiencies noted in the maintenance of payroll records".

According to the report, "Time sheets for employees of the Solid Waste Department were not signed by a supervisor as evidence of review and approval. Sound business practices dictate that time sheets should be properly reviewed and approved. This deficiency is due to a lack of management oversight. When supervisors do not review and approve time sheets, the risks that improper payments could result increases."

The report further stated that "The chief deputy at the Sheriff's Department and the Veteran's Affairs Officer did not have time sheets on file to support their payroll disbursements. According to the sheriff, the chief deputy does not prepare a time sheet because he is a salaried employee. The Veteran's Affairs Officer is a part-time employee and does not earn leave, therefore, the county has not required him to submit time sheets to support his salary. The failure to submit time sheets could result in improper payroll payments."

The state recommends that "Supervisors should sign the employees' time sheets as evidence of review and approval. All employees should maintain and attendance records."

In response, Foster said that "the solid waste department is the only branch of county government that has an actual time clock. They clock in and clock out. The supervisor over there looks at it (time sheets), makes sure that its right, and then brings it in to our office and the employees are paid. He (supervisor) looks at every one of them and the clerk here (courthouse) looks at every one of them. But they (state) are saying that he (supervisor) needs to sign them. Even though he already checks every one of them (time sheets), he will initial them now," said Foster.

Infinity Athletics All Stars Bring Home 1st Place

November 8, 2011
Photo Provided
Photo Provided

Congratulations to the Infinity Athletics All Stars for bringing home 1st place at Tennessee Tech University's Golden Eagle Classic on November 6th. Their next competition will be Saturday, December 10th at Nashville Municipal Auditorium.

Pictured are:
Top Row (L-R): Coach Sonja House, Kenzie France, Madison Colwell, Emme Colwell, Katherine Clendenen, Callie Mulloy, Coach Jennifer Sykes
Bottom Row (L-R): Shaunta Koegler, Chloe Sykes, Alley Sykes, Shelby Sprague

Individual Picture:
Congratulations to Alley Sykes for placing 2nd out of over 30 participants in the Jump Contest at the Golden Eagle Classic on November 6th.

Qualifying Deadline Approaching for Assessor of Property and Constable Races

November 8, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Timothy Fud Banks
Constables

The 2012 election season will begin with the Tennessee Presidential Preference Primaries and the DeKalb County Democratic Primary on March 6th.

On the local scene, the office of Assessor of Property will be up for election along with all seven constable positions. Each of the terms is for four years. The qualifying deadline is 12 noon on December 8.

In 2008, Assessor of Property Timothy Fud Banks was re-elected while those elected as constable were Reed Edge in the second district, Wayne Vanderpool in the third district, Paul Cantrell in the fourth district, Mark Milam in the fifth district, Cantrell Jones in the sixth district, and Johnny King in the seventh district. No one was elected in the first district.

Paul Cantrell has qualified to seek re-election as constable in the fourth district. Constable Mark Milam has also qualified for re-election in the fifth district. Others who have picked up petitions for constable are Johnny King in the seventh district, Wayne Vanderpool in the third district, and Richard Bullard in the sixth district. Scott Cantrell has picked up a petition for Assessor of Property.

While the local Democratic Party will be selecting its nominees through the primary process, the DeKalb County Republican Party will choose any nominees it has by convention.

"Petitions can be picked up for all of the local offices on the March ballot," said Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections. The qualifying deadline is NOON, December 8, 2011. The same
qualifying deadline will apply to the Republican Party nominees (chosen by caucus) and Independent candidates.

Any Republican and Democratic nominees for the offices of Assessor of Property and Constable will face off in the August 2012 DeKalb County General Election

(Pictured Above: Constables Cantrell Jones in the sixth district, Johnny King in the seventh district, Reed Edge in the second district, Wayne Vanderpool in the third district, Mark Milam in the fifth district, and Paul Cantrell in the fourth district)

Giles County Football Fan Charged with Theft of DCHS Sign

November 7, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
William Carson Burns
Raymond Earl Tague

A Giles County High School football fan was arrested for trying to steal a DeKalb County High School Tiger Football sign following the state play-off game last Friday night in Smithville.

18 year old William Carson Burns of Agnew Road, Pulaski is charged with theft of property under $500 and evading arrest. His bond is $3,000 and he will be in court on November 17.

Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that on Friday, November 4, Burns allegedly took a sign from the DCHS football field that belonged to the school, valued at less than $500. When officers asked him to put down the sign, he ran off with it. He ran about 200 yards before officers caught up with him.

Giles County defeated DeKalb County in that game 35-28, eliminating the Tigers from the state play-offs.

Meanwhile, 43 year old Raymond Earl Tague of Bluhmtown Road, Smithville is charged with theft of property over $500. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court November 17.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Wednesday November 2, Tague allegedly took from property on Bluhmtown Road, a door, a large window, and two small windows, all valued at over $500.

36 year old Lisa Yvonne Rogers of Aaron Webb Road, Smithville is cited for violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance), simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana), and possession of drug paraphernalia. Her court date is November 17

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, November 5 an officer was dispatched to Creek Road to check out a suspicious vehicle. Upon arrival, the officer found Rogers sitting in the car. After receiving consent to search the vehicle, the deputy found 1.8 grams of marijuana and a pipe. Rogers could not show proof of insurance.

Hurricane Bridge to Close One Night Only, Tuesday November 8

November 7, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Message Board near Hurricane Bridge
Hurricane Bridge to Close Tuesday Night
Contractor to pour a portion of the new concrete deck

Tennessee Department of Transportation contract crews will close the Hurricane Bridge on State Route 56 over the Caney Fork River in DeKalb County to all traffic between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. CST on Tuesday, November 8, 2011. The closure is necessary to allow the contractor to pour a portion of the new concrete deck. The work is part of a $26.9 million rehabilitation project which is scheduled to be complete in October 2013.

The work is weather dependent. If the contractor is unable to perform the work on Tuesday evening, it will be rescheduled to take place on either the evening of Wednesday, November 9 or Thursday, November 10 during the same time period.

Message boards will be in place to notify drivers of the closure. While the bridge is closed, all traffic will be redirected to the currently posted truck detour that utilizes I-40 at Exit 254 to SR-53. The bridge will be reopened to normal one-lane signal-controlled traffic by 6:00 a.m. the following morning. The current weight postings of 10 tons for two-axle vehicles and 18 tons for vehicles with three or more axles will continue to remain in effect and will be strictly enforced.

For travel and TDOT construction information visit the TDOT SmartWay web site at www.tn.gov/tdot/tdotsmartway or call 511 from any land-line or cellular phone. You can also receive traffic alerts via TDOT's multiple Twitter feeds, including statewide traffic tweets @TN511 or Chattanooga area alerts @Chattanooga511. Smart phone users can use the TDOT SmartWay Mobile website at http://m.tdot.tn.gov/SmartWay/ to access TDOT's SmartWay cameras and information on construction related lane closures and incidents on interstates and state routes.

As always, drivers are reminded to use all motorist information tools wisely and Know Before You Go! by checking travel conditions before leaving for their destination. Drivers should never tweet, text or talk on a cell phone while behind the wheel.

Lauren Ashley Medlin New Fall Fest Queen

November 5, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Fall Fest Queen Lauren Ashley Medlin
Fall Fest Queen and Runners-Up
Miss Congeniality Katlin Alli Emme

15 year old Lauren Ashley Medlin captured the Fall Fest Crown Saturday night during the annual pageant at the DeKalb County High School gym. The event is sponsored by the Smithville Business and Professional Women's Club.

Nineteen young ladies, ages 14-18 competed for the title.

Medlin, daughter of Greg and Teresa Medlin of Smithville, succeeds the retiring Fall Fest Queen, 15 year old Lauren Elizabeth Colwell, daughter of Trent and Christie Colwell of Smithville.

Meanwhile, Katlin Alli Emme was named Miss Congeniality of the pageant. She is the 15 year old daughter of Jessica and Gordon Rackley and Michael and Leslie Emme of Smithville..

First runner-up in the pageant was 16 year old Zoe Elaine Whaley, daughter of Celia and Scott Whaley of Smithville.

Kami Denise Bogle was second runner-up. She is the 15 year old daughter of Amy Scott and Chris Bogle of Smithville.

17 year old Katie Sue Haggard, daughter of David and Vicki Haggard of Smithville, was the third runner-up

Fourth runner-up went to 15 year old Brittany Nicole Wilkerson, daughter of Sean Wilkerson and Michelle Cantrell of Smithville.

Others in the top ten were Kelsey Hale, the 17 year old daughter of Kevin and Judith Hale of Smithville; Stephanie Carmen Rackley, the 17 year old daughter of William and Angie Meadows and Gordon and Jessica Rackley of Smithville; Sarah Elizabeth Edwards of Liberty, the 15 year old daughter of Tena and the late Clay Edwards; Darrian Lanay Turner, the 14 year old daughter of Shane and Regina Turner of Smithville; and Christian Janette Atnip, the 17 year old daughter of Veronica Atnip of Smithville.

Others in the pageant were Paige Cantrell, the 16 year old daughter of David and Angela Cantrell of Alexandria; Carlie Sullivan, the 16 year old daughter of Inga and Darrell Johnson of Liberty; Shauna Faith Taylor, the 16 year old daughter of Ken and Cindy Taylor of Smithville; Ashlee Michelle Whitehead, the 17 year old daughter of Keneth and Tina Whitehead of Smithville; Jasmine Marie Dimas, the 17 year old daughter of Lynda Hamilton and Juan Dimas of Smithville; Makayla Shea Funk, the 16 year old daughter of Amie Funk of Dowelltown; Haley Marie Hale, the 14 year old daughter of Chad and Melissa Hale of Smithville; and Jessica Diane Ball, the 17 year old daughter of Donald and Mary Lou Ball of Smithville.

(Second Photo From Top: Pictured Left to Right: Fall Fest: 4th runner-up Brittany Nicole Wilkerson, 2nd runner-up Kami Denise Bogle, Queen Lauren Ashley Medlin, 1st runner-up Zoe Elaine Whaley, 3rd runner-up Katie Sue Haggard)

Tyra Grace Graham Crowned Autumn Sweetheart

November 5, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Autumn Sweetheart Tyra Grace Graham
Autumn Sweetheart and Runners-Up
Miss Congeniality Hannah Walker

13 year old Tyra Grace Graham is the first ever Autumn Sweetheart.

The inaugural pageant, sponsored by the Smithville Business and Professional Women's Club, was held Saturday night at the DCHS gym. Twelve contestants, ages 11-14 competed for the crown.

Graham is the daughter of Kyle and Doris Graham of Smithville.

First runner-up in the pageant was Hannah Walker, the 13 year old daughter of Scott and Misty Walker of Smithville. Walker was also named Miss Congeniality

Destiny Danielle Franklin, 12 year old daughter of Jennifer and Charles Ware of Smithville, was second runner-up.

Third runner-up went to Morgan Faith Green, the 12 year old daughter of Suzanne and Jon Harrison of Smithville.

Brooklyn Storm Estes was the fourth runner-up. She is the 11 year old daughter of Chris and Shanna Bogle of Smithville.

Others participating in the pageant were Alexis KaSara Davis, 12 year old daughter of Scott and Angela Davis of Smithville; Chloe Elizabeth Sykes, 11 year old daughter of Robbie and Jennifer Sykes of Smithville; Baylie Ann Davis, 11 year old daughter of Shara Cowan and Jason Davis of Smithville; Abigail Hope Taylor, the 11 year old daughter of Ken and Cindy Taylor of Smithville; Kerra Nicole Blackwell, the 13 year old daughter of Candra and Brian Neal and Russell Blackwell of Smithville; Kayla Jayne Belk, the 11 year old daughter of Chrisanne Belk and Andrew Fults of Smithville; and Madison Elaine Colwell, the 11 year old daughter of Gabe and Heather Colwell of Smithville.

Second Photo From Top: (Pictured left to right: 4th runner-up Brooklyn Storm Estes, 2nd runner-up Destiny Danielle Franklin, Queen Tyra Grace Graham, 1st runner-up Hannah Walker, 3rd runner-up Morgan Faith Green)

Anna Rachel Blair Wins Autumn Princess Crown

November 5, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Autumn Princess Anna Rachel Blair
Autumn Princess and Runners-Up
Miss Manners Kennedy Grace Agee

10 year old Anna Rachel Blair is the 2011 Autumn Princess

Blair, daughter of Keith and Amanda Blair of Smithville, succeeds the retiring Autumn Princess, Emma Brooke Jennings, the eight year old daughter of Chad and Shelly Jennings of Smithville

The pageant, featuring nineteen girls ages 7 to 10, was sponsored by the Smithville Business and Professional Women's Club and held Saturday night at the DCHS gym.

First runner-up was Natalie Morgan Snipes, the 7 year old daughter of Tim and Michelle Snipes of Smithville.

Second runner-up was Kennedy Grace Agee, the 8 year old daughter of Josh and January Agee of Liberty. Agee was also named Miss Manners.

Alexis Grace Atnip, the 8 year old daughter of Veronica Atnip and John Atnip of Smithville, was named third runner-up.

Ellisyn Kelsey Cripps was fourth runner-up. She is the 8 year old daughter of Troy and Jamie Cripps of Smithville.

Rounding out the top ten were Haylie Lockard, the 9 year old daughter of John and Brittany Lockard of Smithville; Malia Nichole Stanley, the 9 year old daughter of Steve Stanley of Smithville and the late Amy Tollison; Madison Rae Rackley, the 8 year old daughter of Gordon and Jessica Rackley of Smithville; Shaunta Rose Koegler, the 10 year old daughter of Brian and Leticia Koegler of Smithville; and Madi Elizabeth Cantrell, the 10 year old daughter of Todd and Jenny Cantrell of Smithville.

Others participating in the pageant were Sophia Eileen Angeletti, the 7 year old daughter of Stacey Angeletti of Smithville; Skylor McKinlee Fuson, the 8 year old daughter of Aleisha and Scotty Fuson of Smithville; Katherine Malone, the 9 year old daughter of Kevin and Dana Malone of Smithville; Tesla Cheyenne Tapp, the 10 year old daughter of Latisha and Jimmy Stephens of Smithville; Lera Renae Britt, the 9 year old daughter of Lou Ann Cantrell and Jason Britt of Smithville; Alley Elaine Sykes, the 9 year old daughter of Robbie and Jennifer Sykes of Smithville; Madison Faith Whitehead, the 10 year old daughter of Keneth and Tina Whitehead of Smithville; Julia Grace Curtis, the 10 year old daughter of Bruce and Amy Curtis of Smithville; and Megan Emilee Cantrell, the 10 year old daughter of Todd and Jenny Cantrell of Smithville.

Second Photo From Top: (Pictured left to right: 4th runnerup Ellisyn Kelsey Cripps, 2nd runnerup Kennedy Grace Agee, Queen Anna Rachel Blair, 1st runnerup Natalie Morgan Snipes, and 3rd runnerup Alexis Grace Atnip)

Road Supervisor Responds to State Audit Findings in WJLE Interview

November 4, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Kenny Edge

The State Comptroller of the Treasury's Division of County Audit has released the annual Financial Report of DeKalb County for the year ended June 30, 2011

The audit resulted in fifteen findings and recommendations which have been reviewed with DeKalb County Management.

(CLICK THE FOLLOWING LINK TO VIEW THE ENTIRE STATE AUDIT OF DEKALB COUNTY GOVERNMENT)
http://www.comptroller1.state.tn.us/repository/CA/2011/dekalb.pdf

Six of the findings were in Road Supervisor Kenny Edge's department.

The findings were as follows:

The office did not maintain adequate controls over consumable assets
The office had deficiencies in payroll procedures
Competitive bids were not solicited for crushed stone
A property owner erected a gate on a county road
A complete county road list was not submitted to the County Commission for approval
The Highway Department performed work and provided materials on roads to private cemeteries without authorization.

When contacted by WJLE Thursday afternoon, Edge said there is no truth to the finding that competitive bids were not solicited for crushed stone. While Edge apparently could not provide sufficient proof to satisfy the state, he said the notices were clearly published in the local newspaper during the summer. "There were bids. You can go back and get the Smithville Review in June of this year and see where I bid on them and we got bids," said Edge.

Edge doesn't deny that a property owner erected a gate on a county road, as found in the audit. In fact, he said there are gates on county roads in several places across the county. "The one they're talking about here is a gate across the Love Valley Road. There's a graveyard there but they let anybody go to the graveyard who wants to. There are gates all over this county on county roads. There are two or three in Wilder Hollow. There's one at the head of Dry Creek. They are all over the county on the end of these roads, on Hurricane Ridge and everywhere. I've always worked with the landowners," said Edge.

Edge also denies that he has failed to provide the county commission a complete road list for approval, as found in the audit. Edge insists that he submits road lists to the commission each year.

As for performing work and providing materials on roads to private cemeteries, Edge said he has done that throughout his years as road supervisor and that the county commission is well aware of it even though a resolution either has never been adopted by the commission or is currently unavailable acknowledging the practice. "They're saying the county needs to pass a resolution and the county may have but they said I couldn't produce it for them,"

Edge said its frustrating how that the state has such a problem with him putting gravel or a tile in a driveway, but sees nothing wrong with the state putting down hot mix and installing guardrails to a dead end on private property in the midst of a cedar thicket on the side of a hill along side a state highway (referring to property at the foot of Snow Hill on Highway 70)

Concerning the finding about deficiencies in the payroll procedures, Edge said " You're supposed to have one (employee) to receipt the money and another employee to write the checks to the employees. But we don't have the money to hire two people for that. Its always been done this way ever since we've had a road department," he said.

As far as the finding concerning maintaining adequate controls over consumable assets, Edge said "they write me up every year on the road tiles. I furnish everybody in the county a road tile that wants a driveway to build a new house. We don't write down every tile for every particular location. We overlook them along. But if you miss one they (state) write you up just like you missed them all. They want you to put down every tile that you buy and then write down every location that you put it in. You know, you could have another employee over there doing nothing but trying to keep up with every nail, what bridge it was drove in, what gully every tile was put in, and what gully you put every gravel in. You can't keep up with everything the auditors want you to and then they write you up for it," said Edge.

WJLE will have a follow up story on other state audit findings soon.

Midnight Express Manager Inquires About Sunday Beer Sales

November 4, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page

Should businesses licensed to sell beer in DeKalb County be permitted to sell on Sunday?

Armando Bolanco, manager of the Midnight Express Gentleman's Club on the Sparta Highway, believes they should and he briefly addressed the DeKalb County Beer Board concerning this issue Thursday night.

Bolanco said if beer sales were to be allowed on Sunday, not only would he be able to make more money, but he and other establishments that sell beer would be generating more tax money to support local government. ‘With that income that I lose, I also gain by not giving any more sales tax to the county and state. Personally, I think it would be very beneficial for the county if my place of business and the rest of the people in the county who sell beer were able to contribute more taxes by selling on Sundays. The county could use that money, whether its for the sheriff's department or for the school system," said Bolanco.

Jim Stagi, a member of the beer board, informed Bolanco that existing laws would first have to be changed and the beer board does not have that authority. "We're following the recommendations of the county, which adopted the recommendations of the state. So its got to be done (changed) legislatively for us to change our rules. We cannot change the rules for you," said Stagi.

Bolanco also asked for clarification on the law regarding beer sales after midnight during the week. Bolanco said he was under the impression that his business could not have any customers present after midnight, even though he is not serving alcohol. "We've been doing business in the county for coming up on eight years shortly. I don't believe we have caused the county any troubles. I have run it myself from day one. We cut off people (from buying beer) when they start talking crazy or are wobling a little bit. As a manager, I believe that's one of my duties. This is my case. I was told we have to clear out the building at 12:15 a.m. A good chunk of our profit on the weekends is made from 12 until 1 or 1:15 a.m. We don't sell beer past midnight. We let things cool down. But I see that small hour (12 until 1 a.m.) as a time for people to sober up a little bit before they hit the roads," said Bolanco.

Robert Rowe, beer board member, explained to Bolanco that while the law requires that no beer sales be made after midnight, the customers do not necessarily have to leave at that time. "The law doesn't say they have to leave. But at 12:15 their beer has to go. They can spend the night with you if they want to. That's the way I understand it. At 12:15 a.m. they can get the coffee pot out and say okay let's have some coffee. All we do is enforce the law that they (county) gave us. This is the law they gave us to go by," said Rowe.

The law states that "No beer or like beverages shall be sold between the hours of 12 midnight and 6:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday. No beer or like beverages shall be sold between the hours of 12 midnight on Saturday and 11:59 p.m. on Sunday. No such beverage shall be consumed or opened for consumption on or about any licensed premises in either bottle, glass, or other container after 12:15 a.m."

Meanwhile, the beer board voted to receive an application for a new on and off premises permit for the VFW Howard Gill POST on the Sparta Highway under the name of the quartermaster. Tom Skelenka appeared before the board on behalf of the VFW.

The board will take final action on the application at the next meeting on Thursday, December 1 at 6:00 p.m. at the courthouse.

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