County Commissioners Hear Public Transportation Funds Match and Proposal for Two-Party Check System for Financial Accountability

Published 12:39 pm Thursday, January 11, 2024

In addition to the recognition presented to Dr. Shirley Latimore and the vote on the Board of Elections, the Sumter County Commissioner’s meeting on January 9th covered several important topics.

Jim Livingston, representative for the Lower Chattahoochee Regional Transit Authority, presented information to the Board on rural transportation grants. Livingston mentioned that the authority shares the cost of rural transportation.

“Historically, the cost for a regional and rural transportation program are covered [with] Georgia Transportation Funds. It’s a 53-11 program. You all as a County are eligible for these funds.”

He mentioned a match requirement.

“Historically the match requirement is covered by the other fares and other people that ride on this bus.”

He mentioned that TSPLOST dollars could also be used to support it.

Livingston commented that joining the Authority would require approval by the State Legislature.

County Attorney Hayden Hooks explained the Memorandum of Understanding with Samsung Solar that was also on the agenda.

“The Payroll Development Authority will lease the Solar Panels, they will own the solar panels, and they will lease them to Samsung Solar and so Samsung Solar is agreeing to this payment instead of paying the personal property taxes on the solar panels. The solar company won’t begin making that payment until the construction is completed.”

The County would receive an estimated average of $510,000 each year over twenty years.

Commissioner Jessie Smith made a motion to approve the Memorandum, seconded by Commissioner Clay Jones, passing three to one with Commissioner Jim Reid against and Commissioner David Baldwin for.

A motion was made to appoint Michael Powell to the Sumter County Board of Tax Assessors. The resolution passed, with Reid, Baldwin, and Waddell for, and Jones and Smith against.

Doug Eaves, the new interim County Administrator, suggested implementing a two-party check system, where all checks required a second signature. This would allow the Commissioners to control which checks were approved.

Eaves also mentioned issues with the Finance Department.

“We have put a great deal of work on one person in the Finance Department at one time. I am very cognizant of the fact that you wanted to separate administration from finance, but finance has been one of our key areas we have had some issues with in the past several months. You have to go where the problems are, and that is the area that I have been addressing.”

He mentioned several critical issues including back- reconciliations for all accounts since August, general entries, accruals, and issues with segregation of duties.

“What I’m recommending to the Board at this point in time, at least until we get a financial director and we see what their needs are going to be as far as personal, I’m recommending to the Board that we hire a financial temp.”