Aragon to hold spe­cial meet­ing over fi­nances on Tues­day

The Standard Journal - - FRONT PAGE - By Kevin Myrick [email protected]­stan­dard­jour­

The Aragon City Coun­cil does care about both cit­i­zens of the city and em­ploy­ees who have kept it op­er­at­ing ac­cord­ing to the lat­est com­ments from Mayor Pro Tem Deb­bie Pittman this morn­ing.

In a fol­low-up from the lat­est re­port on the City of Aragon’s fi­nances and dis­cus­sions held over the is­sue dur­ing the city coun­cil’s work ses­sion on Jan. 17, Pittman said the coun­cil does not agree with a state­ment made by Mayor Garry Bald­win dur­ing that work ses­sion.

“Coun­cil mem­bers took an oath to pro­tect both the tax­pay­ers and the city em­ploy­ees,” Pittman said in a phone in­ter­view on Tues­day morn­ing, Jan. 22. “We do not want cit­i­zens or our em­ploy­ees to think that we don’t care about them. We care about both.”

She also added that ques­tions over city fi­nances raised dur­ing the Jan­uary work ses­sion and in pre­vi­ous meet­ings aren’t be­ing fully ad­dressed, es­pe­cially when it comes to en­sur­ing that Fi­nan­cial Con­sul­tant Rick Hart­ley is giv­ing full ap­proval for pay­ing out on bills and spend­ing items be­fore it is ap­proved by the coun­cil.

“Noth­ing was sup­posed to be paid or spent with­out the ap­proval of Rick (Hart­ley),” Pittman said. “The things that we put in place aren’t be­ing fol­lowed.”

Pittman did de­fend some of the city’s past ex­pen­di­tures, but for the most part re­mained con­cerned about how much money is com­ing in and go­ing out from the city cof­fers.

She said that de­tails of a work ses­sion re­quested by the coun­cil specif­i­cally with Hart­ley are still

in the plan­ning pro­cesses.

“We’re work­ing on it now,” she said.

Her com­ments come after a meet­ing where coun­cil mem­bers sought more specifics about how the city was go­ing to con­tinue op­er­at­ing when more ex­pen­di­tures are be­ing recorded than rev­enue com­ing in.

Bald­win said dur­ing the coun­cil’s Jan­uary work ses­sion that the fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion wasn’t as dire as the coun­cil mem­bers thought since rev­enue was con­stantly com­ing in to cover bills, and ad­di­tion­ally pointed to­ward past spend­ing from pre­vi­ous and the cur­rent coun­cil ap­proved from the Spe­cial As­sets

Ac­count for SPLOST pur­chases be­ing paid back. He also told coun­cil mem­bers that they “didn’t take an oath to pro­tect em­ploy­ees. You took an oath of of­fice to pro­tect the peo­ple of the City of Aragon.”

Ad­di­tional con­ver­sa­tion and po­ten­tial ac­tion will be com­ing up for sub­scribers who get the pa­per early on Tues­day in a 7 p.m. ses­sion that was called late in the week on Fri­day af­ter­noon, Jan. 25.

The agenda cen­tered com­pletely around the city’s fi­nances when sub­mit­ted be­fore press time.

Items for dis­cus­sion and po­ten­tial vote in­clude the fi­nances, a dis­cus­sion with the city’s fi­nan­cial con­sul­tant Rick Hart­ley, a po­ten­tial dis­cus­sion of as­set sales, the cre­ation of a promised emer­gency fund and lim­i­ta­tions on how it can be used, and ad­di­tion­ally of the city’s use of Waste In­dus­tries to un­der­take trash col­lec­tion ser­vices.

They also plan to have a dis­cus­sion of the city’s va­ca­tion pol­icy, and time is also set aside for com­ments from the coun­cil and mayor.

Check on­line at Polk­stan­dard­jour­ for more about what hap­pened dur­ing the meet­ing after press time this week, and to also hear au­dio of that ses­sion.

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