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Beach manager defends decision to raze ex-school

Foulds says building was unsafe, and several residents complained
The Colonial Beach town manager sai...

1st Annual Colonial Beach Bike Fest

1st Annual Colonial Beach Bike Fest

1st Annual Colonial Beach Bike Fest

Bike Fest a roaring good time

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About 10,000 attend first annual event in county

Bikers from D.C., Maryland and Virginia and points...

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The Colonial Beach Town Council put a stop to a demolition notice for the town’s former elementary s...

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A town official has ordered the former Colonial Beach Elementary School to be demolished in about tw...

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Despite their best efforts and good intentions, the Colonial Beach Town Council was unable to reduce...

 

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School’s audit problems on council’s front burner

What began in executive session may end in executive session this Thursday, November 19th at 7:00 P.M.

On Wednesday October 21st Colonial Beach Town Council called a special meeting to discuss potential legal matters that may arise with regard to the Town’s Audit in executive session.

Before going into closed session the Towns Auditor Nancy Miller revealed that the problems were specifically related to the Schools financial practices for keeping records.

During the closed session Superintendant Dr. Power and School Board Chairman Tim Trivett arrived. Both speculated on what might be the subject matter but both were confused as to why they had not been alerted to problems prior to the meeting.

After a week recess the Council reconvened on October 28th to present an agreement between the Council and the School Board for approval of the Council.


Members of the School Board were frustrated that copies of the agreement were provided to the Press but none were made available by the Council to School Board Members till after the Council voted to approve it.

The Council presented a deadline of November 4th  for the agreement to be signed by the School Board but to date the agreement has not been signed.

At last week’s School Board Meeting on November 11th Dr. Power gave a power point presentation to the Board outlining all the concerns from the Councils drafted agreement and listing all actions taken to address those issues.

In the presentation Power admitted that recently discovered information had been forwarded to the Town Auditor just days prior to the November 11th meeting.

Some of the steps taken were to set up separate accounts for Stimulus funds, School and Town financial officers meeting monthly to reconcile revenues and expenditures and provide verification, getting written approval from Council for money not in the school division budget that needs to be re-appropriated and any transfer of funding needed between categories as well as implementing the new RDA Accounting system.

One of the larger concerns of the Council was overpayment of payroll taxes during the last two years. It was discovered that an $8000.00 dollar mistake went undetected by the Miller/Foley accounting firm falsely showing an overpayment.

An email from Nancy Miller to Town Manager, Val Foulds and Dr. Power confirmed this statement by saying, “The original work papers we received contained some errors and the 941’s [payroll taxes] have numerous errors on them but those errors don’t get carried through to totals.  As a result, we don’t believe that this is a priority issue.”

Routinely Mayor Rummage has been attending School Board meetings but during the week before the November 11th meeting Rummage was in hospital for gull bladder surgery and had not recovered enough to attend that meeting.

The School Board was upset that no other members of Council were present at the meeting.

At the Council Meeting the following evening when invited by Mayor Rummage to speak, Dr. Power said she was not prepared to give a report and was not aware she was required to. Rummage stated he simply did not want to overlook her if she was prepared to say something.

During that Council Meeting on the 12th of November School Board Chairman, Tim Trivett was surprised and upset to hear Council approve an extra $30,000.00 for the Miller/ Foley Group, stating the Auditors had put in a lot of extra time for the recent issues concerning the Schools side of the Audit.

On November 16th the Town Council announced “VICE MAYOR KING, COUNCIL MEMBER COOMBES, COUNCIL MEMBER RIDGELY, COUNCIL MEMBER KENNEDY, COUNCIL MEMBER PAYNE, AND COUNCIL MEMBER LYBURN CALL A SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COLONIAL BEACH TOWN COUNCIL FOR NOVEMBER 19, 2009 AT 7:00 P.M. FOR THE PURPOSE OF GOING INTO CLOSED MEETING PURSUANT TO VA CODE SECTION 2.2-3711 (A) (7) FOR CONSULTATION WITH LEGAL COUNSEL REGARDING THE TOWN’S LEGAL OPTIONS WITH RESPECT TO THE SCHOOL BOARD’S FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT PRACTICES AND ANY POTENTIAL IMPACT ON THE TOWN”

It is anyone’s guess whether this matter will continue or be laid to rest on Thursday evenings meeting scheduled directly after the Committee Meetings which began at 3:00 P.M.
Linda Farneth
 

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