County mismanaging money

To the Editor:

This letter is to inform Moffat County citizens of the facts regarding the current financial position of the county coffers. A 2002 Daily Press article quoted Debra Murray, Moffat County administrator, as saying that county 2002 ending fund balances would be about $11,000,000. The 2003 budget submitted to the BOCC for approval indicated a beginning balance of $12,693,659. Actual 2002 ending and 2003 beginning balances were $5,903,458.24. This budget was submitted, and apparently approved by the Department of Local Affairs, as required by C.R.S. 29-1-113. The same document included a debt service beginning balance of $1,048,261. So, if this balance was valid, why the recent transfers from various funds to cover the now infamous "Wells Fargo Wire Transfer" of $616,861.93 that was executed without a BOCC resolution of approval?

The actual fund balance for the PSC debt service fund on Jan 1 and May 15 was $.43, yes fourty-three cents.

On Jan. 13, the BOCC passed Resolution 2003-8, "Financial Manangement Policy." The resolution stated: "The county will maintain the following funds." Among those cited was "debt service fund." This fund was specifically to account for repayment of the $10,000,000 Certificates of Participation, Series 1998 and the repayment of the $2,100,000 Certificates of Participation, Series 2001.

The fact is that money was ficticiously budgeted, but never appropriated as required by statute C.R.S.29-1-103 & C.R.S.29-108 and as required by the Certificate of Paricipation Agreement as follows: "In the event the board shall not specifically budget and appropriate on or before Dec. 31 of each fiscal year, money to pay all base rentals and the reasonable estimated additional rentals coming due for the next ensuing fiscal year, an event of nonappropriation shall be deemed to have occurred as of Dec. 31.

"The possible remedy of Nonappropriation is the vacation of the Public Safety Center by March 31 of the year of nonappropriation, the trustee would then take control of the premises."

The last statement is not likely to happen, however, it is possible.

Another glaring error in the 2003 budget is The Memorial Hospital beginning balance of $3,355,742. Surprise, the actual number is $6,395.64.

Does the foregoing sound like Enron Accounting?

I think it's time for top level management changes. Seriously, Moffat County can't afford the depletion of reserves that has occurred in the last several years. The coffers are down several million dollars, but we have a $500,000 prepaid phone bill for the exclusive use of the Colorado State Patrol, and a $700,000.00 prepaid services contract with NCT that we have yet to use. We have a $250,000 fire management plan that leaves us exactly where we were before the plan was bought with taxpayer dollars.

IT'S TIME!

Stan Hathhorn,

Craig

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