Conditional approvals create cloudy question

May. 19, 2013 @ 05:14 PM

By the wording of their conditions, there is a question as to just what happens as the final of 21 government entities make their decisions on the one-time assessment asked for by the Kerr-Tar Council of Governments.

The request was made to fix an accounting problem Kerr-Tar created. It has been reviewed by its board of directors and auditor and found not to be of intentional wrongdoing.

Money missing that is associated with an Economic Development Administration Revolving Loan Fund will be replenished with the $311,367 request, including repayment of $138,537 the EDA says is due immediately.

Immediately is defined as by the end of May. The remaining $172,830 is for current operations with the fund.

The Kerr-Tar council has received 13 positive responses thus far, although seven are conditional. Six unconditional approvals account for $60,178.

No municipal or county government in the five-county region has said no.

Kerr-Tar is hopeful of learning six more decisions Monday and Tuesday that could yield another $126,528. If all are unconditionally approved, the restitution of $138,537 would be assured.

The request is on the agenda for Monday meetings in Bunn ($478), Louisburg ($4,669), Stem ($644), Person County ($43,232) and Franklin County ($74,693), and in Franklinton ($2,812) on Tuesday.

Norlina ($1,554) has a meeting May 28 and Macon ($165) on June 4.

The seven conditional entities add up to $122,942 and, technically, could be awaiting Macon’s $165 decision past the end of the month deadline.

“We’re trying to think positive,” said Diane Cox, the interim executive director since July. “Our board is feeling positive about the entities that have approved the assessment thus far. We feel with those still left that we have a compelling story to tell them. We feel confident they will support us.”

Cox will be at the Person County meeting Monday morning and the Franklinton meeting Tuesday night. Danny Wright, a member of the Kerr-Tar board, will be at Louisburg Monday night.

Vance County gave approval May 6 to pay $40,941 if all others pay. Creedmoor ($5,732), Youngsville ($1,608) and Stovall ($581) did likewise on May 6, May 9 and May 14, respectively.

Granville County said yes May 6 with their share, $50,696, holding in a trust fund.

Oxford said yes May 14 with their obligation, $11,761, holding in escrow.

And Roxboro said yes May 14 with their $11,623 “contingent” on all others paying. If there were any not paying, the city would readdress the issue, according to the Courier-Tribune newspaper.

“We’re moving forward, continuing to administer the current grants we’ve got,” Cox said late Friday, speaking of operations while awaiting decisions. “We’re in the middle of budget planning for next year also. We feel confident.

“There’s been a lot of open and frank discussions with municipal and county boards. We’re looking forward to next week when the majority will make decisions.”

Giving approvals without conditions were Butner ($10,551) on May 2; Kittrell ($649) and Middleburg ($185) on May 6; Henderson ($21,362) and Warrenton ($1,198) on May 13; and Warren County ($26,233) on May 15.

Kerr-Tar has made numerous cuts in operations since discovering its financial problem. The heart of the problem was in using a single bank account to save expenses and maximize banking returns.

The EDA has asked for a segregated account, and Kerr-Tar has complied. Kerr-Tar has also instituted other accounting changes to prevent a repeat occurrence.

The council works through federal, state and local programs as an administrative and service arm. The needs and priorities come from local member governments in the five-county region of Vance, Granville, Warren, Person and Franklin.

Sixteen regional councils cover the state.

In asking for the $1.39 per capita assessment, Kerr-Tar sent a letter highlighting fiscal years 2008 through 2012. Listed were numerous programs and services related to aging, community development technical assistance, economic development, workforce development, transportation and land use planning, child and family services, and other initiatives.

 

Contact the writer at awooten@hendersondispatch.com.