Mount Sterling village council is instituting more stringent practices regarding village credit cards.
Mary Lou Stiverson Ratliff, finance committee chair and president pro tempore, introduced a list of recommendations from the finance and water committees during Monday’s council meeting.
Among the list of 11 recommendations submitted were eliminating all village credit cards but one. Its use would be limited to several people on staff which include the mayor, the fiscal officer and the village administrator.
When asked if the recommendation was due to some credit card misuse, Stiverson Ratliff said she was “not at liberty to discuss it at this time.”
Another recommendation is to have finance committee members initial or sign bills it recommends for payment.
“We wanted it (the procedure for payment) tightened up with good checks and balances,” Stiverson Ratliff said Tuesday.
She said at the time she left the village council in 2009, council members each took a much closer look at all the bills recommended for payment.
Stiverson Ratliff said she doesn’t know when — during the ensuing seven years — when the practice was abandoned.
“The standards we’d applied no longer existed,” she said.
When asked about how the apparent credit card misuse was discovered or if any criminal charges were pending, Stiverson Ratliff declined further comment.
“I’m in no position to do it now,” she said.
Other recommendations included:
• to allow the fiscal officer to go to the cash summary mode, receipt detail sheet and payment listing for council on meeting nights
• to add 40 hours of work for the audit by Randy Nelson
• to pay off the loan on the village truck, since funds are available and approved
• to allow village solicitor Mark Pitstick to continue refining of the credit card policy
• for finance committee to meet each month at 5:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday at town hall
• to enter into an agreement with J.R. Mason to repair the water treatment plant for an amount not to exceed $40,000, pending approval of the resolution by council.
In other business
• Village administrator John Martin reported village workers have been working on the water lines and the current treatment plant in an effort to purge all remaining non-desirable solid materials from the plant and the lines to make fresh water completely clear.
The overflow tank has been cleaned by a person needing to complete 40 hours of community service.
“He did a good job,” Martin said.
He is instituting a 20-item list of routine maintenance practices which will be done either in-house or by an outside contractor.
Other work is being performed on other components of the system to remove “sludge” and remove orange tint from fresh water.
• Crews have installed speed bumps in selected village alleys to deter speeding on them. Four tons of cold patch material has been purchased to fill pot holes and build speed bumps.
Martin is making a list of all village intersections which have no street signs and subsequently install them, which will be funded by the Community Development Block Grant.
• Mayor Lowell Anderson said a delinquent journal is being compiled of water customers who are in various stages of delinquency (up to 30 days and beyond 30 days). He said the amount in delinquency is $7,800, which he said was “a fine report.”
“I’ve seen it larger,” he said.
• Anderson said the name chosen for the street which leads back to the community center and the medical center is “Center Drive.”
• Council member Rebecca Burns said additional lighting is needed at Mason Park as a deterrent to vandalism. She also recommended erecting a closed sign for the park, so if anyone caught in the park after dark could be arrested for trespassing.
• Anderson said when a person signs up for public comment at a council meeting, the person will have to sign in and be specific about the point they choose to make
• Regarding a local resident’s drainage issue, Anderson said he will contact the county engineer regarding the problem.
“It’s not forgotten,” he said.
• Regarding the Cliffview Avenue flooding, Martin said installing a large catch basin will help.
Dean Shipley can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617, on Facebook at Dean Shipley or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.
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