May 26, 2016
Following is “an explanation” by Mike Benton, County Manager, to the Jasper County BOC about the overruns in 2012 SPLOST spending by 911. Keep in mind this “explanation” is by someone who wasn’t there in 2011 or 2012, and doesn’t know what was discussed or approved, explaining to a BOC with 4 members that weren’t there and don’t have a clue about what went on at that time. Instead of speaking up, Comm. Pennamon feigns ignorance as if he has never been involved in anything with any past board during the last 32 years.
Some facts about the statements made by Mike Benton
1. 2012 SPLOST was put together in 2011 and voted on by the citizens. It took effect 4/1/12.
2. The previous board collected taxes for 9 months and oversaw the SPLOST funds for 9 months.
3. The current board has enjoyed the 2012 SPLOST collections all of 2013, 2014, 2015, and now in 2016. It is their job to oversee the spending and ensure projects are not overspent.
4. The auditor has written up 911 for several years for not having “adequate accounting procedures to insure revenues and expenditures are recorded properly.” Melissa Slocumb was director of 911 all those years. In the last audit there was over $120,000 of material audit adjustments.
5. The county told the auditor they would conduct quarterly reviews of 911 to insure compliance with accounting procedures. Has this been done? If it had, there wouldn’t be SPLOST overspending.
Additionally, who does Mike Benton and this BOC think gave the information on how much things would cost to be put into the SPLOST? 911 Director Melissa Slocumb, that’s who.
And let’s not forget last year in June, when Mike Benton and this BOC listened to Melissa Slocumb outright lie to the BOC. Remember?
Ms. Slocumb at 2:06 mark on video says, “Well, actually, I read that in the paper. It wasn’t my presentation; I wasn’t here that night.” The April 2, 2012 and September 12, 2012 minutes show that Melissa Slocumb was indeed at the meeting and gave the presentations to the BOC about the financing of the project and how it would work. Oops! Guess they all forgot about this because it is so much easier to blame someone else than to accept the fact that nobody was watching the finances.
That nobody was the previous County Manager who this BOC praised lavishly and repeatedly, even up to the day she was put on “medical leave.” Now there is overspending of about $120,000 on the 911 SPLOST which General Fund (Fund Balance) will have to absorb. This is what happens when the BOC is not looking at invoices, nor questioning invoices, and leaving everything to the County Manager to do. The blame lies solely with the County Commissioners who spend money over and beyond the revenues coming in and have no problem raising property taxes to fund their excesses. A Leader says, “We are sorry you can’t have it, because we don’t have enough money.”
We are waiting for Jasper County Leadership, Transparency, Accountability, and Service to the public. Instead, we have no leadership, doing business behind closed doors, and denying the public any input into anything.