St. Pauls argues over spending

By: David Bradley - Staff Writer
St. Pauls Commissioner Elbert Gibson expressed concern on Thursday about spending money on a project before grant money was guaranteed.

ST PAULS — The unauthorized spending of $30,000 for an engineering report was a sticking point Thursday between some St. Pauls Board of Commissioners members and Town Administrator J. R. Steigerwald Thursday night.

The problem centered on the need for the engineering reports to be paid for, regardless of whether a grant is received that would pay for the project. Board member Elbert Gibson learned that a project’s drawings had been paid for in March, but the bid money hadn’t been approved. The town will get the money to pay it back after the project bid money is received. In the meantime, the town could be stuck with the bill.

“We need to know, there are some payments we’ll have to eat without the grant,” Gibson said. “We want to know about expenses to get the grant, and if we’ll have to pay still if we don’t get the grant.”

Other engineering bills have come in, and some grant agencies allow quick payments for their grants after invoices are received. Others are more difficult, requiring documentation and canceled checks before repaying funds.

Board members also expressed concerns about money being spent without being approved by the board. Specifically mentioned was $13,000 for gates at the public library.

“This had been discussed in committee and approved,” Steigerwald said.

“The board didn’t vote on this,” Gibson said.

The commissioners wanted to ensure board control of spending.

“The committee can’t change board decisions, to move money from one department to another,” Gibson said.

In another money matter the commissioners approved a budget amendment to reflect the receipt of Federal Emergency Management Agency that will be used to pay for work already performed. The amendment was to credit the money received to the line item in the current fiscal year’s budget.

The commissioners discussed the need to come up with money to upgrade the town’s sewer system. One option discussed Thursday is raising sewer rates. The sewer plant is 60 years old, and has never had a major retrofit.

St. Pauls Commissioner Elbert Gibson expressed concern on Thursday about spending money on a project before grant money was guaranteed.
https://www.robesonian.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_Elbert-Quick-reduce_ne2018510232832560-1.jpgSt. Pauls Commissioner Elbert Gibson expressed concern on Thursday about spending money on a project before grant money was guaranteed.

David Bradley

Staff Writer

Reach David Bradley at 910-416-5182 or [email protected]

Reach David Bradley at 910-416-5182 or [email protected]