The Metropolitan Moore County Council will meet on Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the American Legion Building in its regular scheduled December session.
Among items on this month’s agenda:
Approve amended tax appropriations resolution FOT 2013-14;
Approve resolution for Tennessee Fastrack Economic Development Program;
Approve appointments of Paulette Jennings and Christy Brown, Notary Public;
Approve 2014 Oak Barrel Marathon.
“This is (a committee) that’s mandated on the county,” said Stewart, adding that he was at odds with the state comptroller in regards to the committee. “I feel it’s a wasted committee, but the comptroller has gotten involved.”
Apparently, the county needs the Audit Committee in order to remain three-star certified, a system the state often uses to award grants.
“The three-star program was set up to help smaller counties get grants, but I went to a meeting three weeks ago and they notified us that we must have an Audit Committee to be three-star certified to be eligible for a grant,” said Stewart.
“There are 13 counties in our region. Eleven of them received grants … we are one of the two that didn’t get a grant. We didn’t get it last year and we didn’t get it this year and it’s not because we don’t have an Audit Committee.”
The county will have to have an Audit Committee in 2014 to even apply for a grant, but there’s more to it than just creating the committee itself. Mayor Stewart wants the new committee to consist of the entire 15-member Metro Council, a suggestion that the state comptroller wasn’t keen on.
“When I told him that, his jaw hit the floor; he stammered to say he didn’t know if we could do that,” said Stewart, adding that another mayor present at the meeting pointed out that the (guidelines) said the Audit Committee could consist of council members.
Stewart said the comptroller eventually responded by saying that the Audit Committee was intended to be a sub-committee and that having all 15 council members on it could make it confusing. The comptroller also pointed to the confidentiality of the committee.
“As you all know, once they tell me the audit is finished and I sign my name on it, if we get one write up or 100 write ups, it becomes public record and anyone can look at it. Your confidentiality just went out the window,” the Mayor told the council.
Stewart asked the council to help him continue the battle with the state comptroller by approving a resolution to create a 15-person Audit Committee consisting solely of council members.
Wayne Brandon made a motion to approve the resolution as it was presented; Glenn Searcy seconded the motion, which carried by acclamation.
Part of Stewart’s beef with the state is the fact that the county continues to apply for grants, but seldom receives any. He said Metro Utilities Department manager Rick Garland sent in a CDBG grant application and the county received a letter saying it didn’t score enough points to receive the grant.
Likewise, Stewart sent a grant application to TDEC in consideration of the county’s solid waste project/upgrade and never heard back from TDEC.
“If they are going to dictate what these counties have to do, then I think we should get our fair share of what’s being sent down,” said Stewart.
—By ROBERT HOLMAN, editor & publisher