Daleville council questions $7,000 purchase by rec department

Less than one month after passing a budget the mayor called “a little tight,” the Daleville City Council questioned a $7,000 expense incurred by the city of Daleville Recreation Department.

“That was a miscommunication,” Daleville Mayor Jayme Stayton told the council after questions arose about a $7,000 bill from Lowe’s for a side-by-side gator mower purchased in September.

The bill had just come to his attention the day before, the mayor explained at the Daleville City Council meeting Oct. 20.

The equipment was purchased on a Lowe’s charge card used by the Daleville Recreation Department Director. “It was on the (recreation department’s budget request) list two years ago and she was under the impression that because it was on the list two years ago that she could buy it,” Stayton said. “That is not the case but we cannot return it so she is going to have to subtract that amount from elsewhere in her budget to compensate.”

Stayton said he did not know who at Lowe’s told the rec center director that she could not return the equipment for a refund.

Councilwoman Jo Reese asked the mayor who, specifically, had verified the issue of the equipment not being allowed to be returned to the store. “I think the thing that disturbs me is that the same person telling you they can’t return it is the person who bought it and I don’t know who she has checked with,” Reese said. “I think that should be looked at before we just approve it. That’s a lot of money.”

At the budget meeting Sept. 29 Marc Nelson, a CPA with Dothan-based McClintock, Nelson and Associates, told the council that in the Fiscal Year 21 budget, that projected expenses were in excess of revenues by some $473,000. Expenses exceeding revenues had been the case for five or six, years, Nelson said.

Following Nelson’s report Sept. 29, Stayton told the council that the city department heads were aware of the financial situation going into the new budget year and that he was going to re-meet with the department heads and examine each line item to see what could be cut from their respective budgets. “Part of our problem is that the department heads keep going over the budget,” Stayton said at the budget meeting. “We are going to have them keep track of expenses and not go over without permission.”

Stayton reiterated that statement at the meeting Oct. 20. “I will sit down with our directors and go over line items,” he said.

Councilwoman Katheryne Horace moved that the bill be paid by the city with the understanding that the $7,000 be taken from the Recreation Department’s Budget.

Reese concurred. “She hasn’t been the head of the rec center that long and I can understand that her lack of knowledge would lead to that conclusion if it was approved back then that it was authorized,” Reese said. “It doesn’t excuse (the purchase) but it does explain it. I think it was an honest error.”

Concern about how a department head could access a city owned credit card for that amount of money was also expressed by council members.

Stayton said that city policy is that any departmental expenditure in excess of $100 required a purchase order.  “She failed to do that,” Stayton said about the rec department director’s $7,000 purchase. “I just found out yesterday. I’m not done with it yet.”

The next meeting of the Daleville City Council is the swearing in of the new council Monday, Nov. 2, at 6 p.m. at the Daleville Cultural and Convention Center. The council meets the first and third Tuesday of each month at 5:30 in the Daleville City Hall Council Chambers. The meetings are open to the public.

By Michelle Mann

mmann@southeastsun.com

Less than one month after passing a budget the mayor called “a little tight,” the Daleville City Council questioned a $7,000 expense incurred by the city of Daleville Recreation Department.

“That was a miscommunication,” Daleville Mayor Jayme Stayton told the council after questions arose about a $7,000 bill from Lowe’s for a side-by-side gator mower purchased in September.

The bill had just come to his attention the day before, the mayor explained at the Daleville City Council meeting Oct. 20.

The equipment was purchased on a Lowe’s charge card used by the Daleville Recreation Department Director. “It was on the (recreation department’s budget request) list two years ago and she was under the impression that because it was on the list two years ago that she could buy it,” Stayton said. “That is not the case but we cannot return it so she is going to have to subtract that amount from elsewhere in her budget to compensate.”

Stayton said he did not know who at Lowe’s told the rec center director that she could not return the equipment for a refund.

Councilwoman Jo Reese asked the mayor who, specifically, had verified the issue of the equipment not being allowed to be returned to the store. “I think the thing that disturbs me is that the same person telling you they can’t return it is the person who bought it and I don’t know who she has checked with,” Reese said. “I think that should be looked at before we just approve it. That’s a lot of money.”

At the budget meeting Sept. 29 Marc Nelson, a CPA with Dothan-based McClintock, Nelson and Associates, told the council that in the Fiscal Year 21 budget, that projected expenses were in excess of revenues by some $473,000. Expenses exceeding revenues had been the case for five or six, years, Nelson said.

Following Nelson’s report Sept. 29, Stayton told the council that the city department heads were aware of the financial situation going into the new budget year and that he was going to re-meet with the department heads and examine each line item to see what could be cut from their respective budgets. “Part of our problem is that the department heads keep going over the budget,” Stayton said at the budget meeting. “We are going to have them keep track of expenses and not go over without permission.”

Stayton reiterated that statement at the meeting Oct. 20. “I will sit down with our directors and go over line items,” he said.

Councilwoman Katheryne Horace moved that the bill be paid by the city with the understanding that the $7,000 be taken from the Recreation Department’s Budget.

Reese concurred. “She hasn’t been the head of the rec center that long and I can understand that her lack of knowledge would lead to that conclusion if it was approved back then that it was authorized,” Reese said. “It doesn’t excuse (the purchase) but it does explain it. I think it was an honest error.”

Concern about how a department head could access a city owned credit card for that amount of money was also expressed by council members.

Stayton said that city policy is that any departmental expenditure in excess of $100 required a purchase order. “She failed to do that,” Stayton said about the rec department director’s $7,000 purchase. “I just found out yesterday. I’m not done with it yet.”

The next meeting of the Daleville City Council is the swearing in of the new council Monday, Nov. 2, at 6 p.m. at the Daleville Cultural and Convention Center. The council meets the first and third Tuesday of each month at 5:30 in the Daleville City Hall Council Chambers. The meetings are open to the public.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.