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Council Gets Audit Report for 2023; Casey’s Annexed into City Limits; Formal Response Coming Regarding Concerns Raised by Council and Citizens

The Carmi City Council approved the annual financial report and independent audit Tuesday evening.  Arlynne Davis, co-owner at Botsch & Associates and managing audit member of the firm provided the report and while she says the financial statements for calendar year ending December 31, 2023 present fairly, the audit did find 3 “significant deficiencies” saying the city doesn’t follow all policies in place and lacks a written account policy and procedure manual.  Davis told the city the same thing in the 2022 audit.  Furthermore, procedures aren’t in place to determine that utility payments received are being posted properly and the audit report disclosed that certain city funds had expenditures in excess of appropriations.

Revenue for 2023 was $5,053,371 compared to a budgeted expectation of $4,737,174.  2023 Expenses totaled $6,137,253 compared to a budget of $4,961,350 leaving a shortfall of more than a million dollars leading Davis to say

Your budget overrun was over a million dollars this year in the general fund so as an auditor, I’ve got to start looking at stuff.  Where did we go wrong on the budget.  And so, and this is a mandatory statement in this audit report.  This is here every year, but this year in particular, I think it’s important for us to look at it; to see where the budget was passed and then what actually happened in the year of ’23.

The auditor didn’t give specifics, only saying that insurance was a big part of it, but that there are other line items that need attention.

Beyond that, Davis pointed out some issues in the utility department billing and payments processing.

I could not guarantee to anyone that individually these utility funds are correct.  The reason I say that, and [Mayor] Jeff and I have had extensive conversations; [City Clerk] Cynthia have had conversations…this started last year and we can’t quite determine what’s going on, but it has to do I believe with several different factors.  One of them being the software system…an example would be let’s say we have a water bill for $50 and a sewer bill for $50 and a customer comes in and pays $100, the system is posting $75 to water and $25 to sewer and we can’t figure out what’s happening.

The current theory is it has something to do with the water meters and calibrations as new meters are being installed.  Overall, Stroman says the funds are ok, but because of the accounting obstruction, the bookkeeping looks askew and could be concerning if the city needs to go to IEPA, to borrow money, or to apply for a grant.

Once the audit was approved, council moved onto other agenda items including approval of the resolution renewing the employee safety incentive program, the reappointment of Ron Wooten and Ellen Legg to the Carmi Public Library Board, and approval of two TIF invoices.

Council also righted an oversight from the 1980’s.  Casey’s hasn’t technically been within the limits of the City of Carmi, but somehow along the way got a liquor license.  That means the business hasn’t been paying the city portion of property taxes, but also shouldn’t have been granted a liquor license.  Council approved that annexation unanimously.

Beyond that, council also approved the mayor to enter into an agreement for delivery and grant administration.  Mayor Pollard says officials just found out last week the city has been awarded a $587,000.65 grant for the Sycamore Street Service Area Water Main Replacement.

Finally, WROY/WRUL News received an unsigned letter in the mail Tuesday with a litany of questions and concerns specifically for the City Council.  When no one on the council brought it up, our reporter asked the board if they had received the same letter as it appeared it was sent to officials with WROY/WRUL carbon copied.  Mayor Pollard confirmed he had also received the same letter but wasn’t prepared to discuss it as it wasn’t on the agenda and it wasn’t signed.  Council members didn’t volunteer confirmation that they’d received it.  Pollard said he’d been working on a statement/release for the last week and that it will get addressed.  You can see the questions posed below:

.  We’ll look forward to a formal response.

  1. Check the records
    Check the records
    June 19, 2024 at 2:18 pm

    It’s obvious the reason for the raises, the mayor’s wife is at the top of the list.

  2. John
    June 19, 2024 at 4:44 pm

    City of carmi needs a new mayor. Those two women have go to go! I know men who have been working at the city for longer than they have who don’t make near what they make. It’s asinine and we deserve answers. Also has everyone forgotten about them filling up their personal vehicles with city gas? Whatever happened to that security footage? Why does the mayors wife also work for the city of carmi police department? These people are parasites on this town and need to be removed from office.

  3. Sarah
    June 19, 2024 at 5:04 pm

    It seems like the mayor and his wife’s corruption is all going to come out.

  4. John Bolerjack
    John Bolerjack
    June 19, 2024 at 10:19 pm

    I moved back last year and all I have heard is where is the money going. The letter needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Within a few days. All city and county offices should be transparent to all citizens who inquire about any issues not just the money issues

  5. Dee
    June 20, 2024 at 10:00 am

    Don’t forget, besides the wife one is the mayor’s step daughter and her husband also works for the city. Oh they live in Norris City.

    • Frank
      June 20, 2024 at 2:38 pm

      Other employees also live in Norris city

  6. Frank
    June 20, 2024 at 11:32 am

    There is also a guy that works in the power line department that lives in Norris city. There is also other employees that don’t live in town including a father and son that work for the city as well

  7. Unbelievable
    June 20, 2024 at 12:21 pm

    The people don’t realize besides his wife, step daughter, and her husband, there are maybe 5-7 more family members who have also been employed during his tenure. I’m wondering why no aldermen stepped up and admitted they also received the letter. This isn’t just going to be put to rest by a written statement from the mayor. I’m not sure any response will be acceptable.

  8. David
    June 20, 2024 at 12:51 pm

    Transparency is vital for the wellbeing of our little town. Seems like we could use a big ole helping of it now !!

  9. No name
    No name
    June 20, 2024 at 8:42 pm

    You get what you elect. No business experience,well except washing and cleaning cars. This isn’t recent it’s been happening for sometime I believe. It’s difficult to believe we have been bamboozaled for so long!!

  10. Yevonda Williams Bell
    Yevonda Williams Bell
    June 21, 2024 at 1:40 am

    Look at all city and county employees, nepotism seems to run deep. So this is nothing new been going on for years.

  11. Fiddie
    June 21, 2024 at 1:43 am

    Look at all city and county employees, nepotism seems to run deep. So this is nothing new been going on for years.

  12. John
    June 21, 2024 at 6:36 am

    How can I get a copy of the audit

  13. Harrison
    June 23, 2024 at 8:47 pm

    It should also be asked where all the funds from vibracoustic’s $30k grant that was supposed to fix Burrels Woods a few years ago. As far as I know nothing was acomplished so where did that go?


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