|SF to pay $86,000 to ambulance service from collected funds
|Posted: Friday, December 21, 2012 9:12 pm
|By CHRIS MENEES
South Fulton will be paying $86,000 to the Twin City Ambulance Service for monies collected from the city’s ambulance sub-scribers from 2000 to 2010.
The South Fulton City Commission officially ap-proved the payment during a lengthy session Thursday evening at the city’s mu-nicipal complex.
The action stemmed from an excess of over $98,000 discovered earlier this year in a City of South Fulton account designated as ambulance fund.
No immediate action was taken and city officials and the city’s auditor began researching the matter to determine the exact source of the excess money.
In South Fulton, $10 per month ambulance subscriptions are collected on customers’ utility bills; on those bills, customers are able to view the amounts owed for water, gas, sewer, refuse and ambulance. City officials previously explained all money collected by the city goes into one account and the city’s computer software divides the funds into various designations.
During discussion in June after the excess was discovered, SF city commissioners discussed it being a result of software issues and specifically how payments were dispersed among the items billed on a utility bill, rather than anything intentional.
South Fulton city manager Debra Craig told the commission Thursday evening the excess in funds has been thoroughly researched by the city’s auditor in an effort to determine the amount owed to the ambulance corporation. The Twin City Ambulance Board met Monday and approved a figure of $86,226.67 to cover the 10-year period the problem occurred.
She said the ambulance board was “content” with the amount and South Fulton Mayor Ed Cassetty aid he believes it is a fair offer.
Mrs. Craig said the source of the discrepancy was never traced, citing possible software errors or bank draft errors, and all manual transactions were examined. Cassetty noted the records were not as good in the earlier years and he said the auditor suggested an average of the 10-year period.
Commissioner Beatrice Wilcox made the motion to approve the payment and it was approved 5-0.
The financially-distressed Twin City Ambulance Service was acquired earlier this year by Parkway Regional Hospital in Fulton after much discussion last year among Fulton, South Fulton, Fulton County, Ky., and Hickman, Ky., governments and citizens about how to keep the service operational. The corporation still exists, though, and the board includes representatives from Fulton, South Fulton and Hickman.
In other action during Thursday evening’s 90-minute meeting, which was opened with the Pledge of Allegiance and prayer led by Vice Mayor Tony Perry, the South Fulton City Commission:
• Tabled action on the final reading of a yard sale ordinance to allow for some changes to be made. Several commissioners expressed concerns shared with them by constituents about the proposed ordinance being too strict, including the stipulations for sign placement and removal and the number of yard sales which can be held during a year.
The ordinance was proposed to deal with a problem of some residents having “perpetual yard sales,” according to Mrs. Craig, and it was noted several other communities have adopted similar ordinances to address problems.
• Voted to enter into a service agreement with Alliance Water Resources to operate and manage the city’s water and wastewater facilities.
The city is required to have a licensed operator for the facilities. Mrs. Craig said the plan for this budget year was to hire someone with the necessary certifications, but no one with all the required certifications applied, and city personnel are still working toward obtaining the certifications needed.
The move to Alliance will be a significant savings from the operator currently being contracted by the city and Alliance will also help train some of the city’s employees as they work toward certification.
• Agreed to reactivate a bridge repair project started more than a decade ago, pre-dating the current commission, and approved payment of $168,692.40 for the city’s portion of repairs.
The city manager had recently been authorized to correspond with the Tennessee Department of Transportation to get actual information and costs, in writing, so the commission could make a decision about a request to repay the city’s share of preliminary work from 2000 for the bridge repair project or to move forward with the actual repair work.
The consensus among commissioners was it would be cheaper in the long run to proceed with the bridge work and have two improved bridges rather than simply paying the preliminary costs without making improvements.
• Approved allowing city offices to be closed on New Year’s Eve as well as New Year’s Day.
• Was informed a draft of a purchasing policy ordinance is not yet ready for presentation to the commission.
• Learned Cassetty and new commissioners Scott Ellegood and Ms. Wilcox recently attended training for newly-elected officials conducted by the Municipal Technical Advisory Ser-vice.
• Was informed a mayor’s office has been established at the municipal complex.
• Expressed appreciation to David and Karen Wilds for their work on the city’s plywood Christmas card at the display in Pontotoc Park in Fulton.
• Congratulated several city employees on recent accomplishments and training.
• Was reminded City Hall will be closed Monday and Tuesday for Christmas, as well as New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
• Heard concerns from several residents regarding unkempt properties and vacant houses, with Mrs. Craig to look into those concerns.
Published in The Messenger 12.21.12