Mistake Shorts EMDTF

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A federal matching fund grant helps pay salaries of members of the city-county drug task force. The county has included task force members in their annual pay raises, but has not been putting the extra money in the task force budget.

New county administrator Tony Green, formerly an employee of the state auditor, discovered the practice has gone on for five years and the county now owes the fund $94,000.

"The past five years the expenditures were more than what the grant was bringing in and so it should have been addressed each year, like an average say of $20,000 a year or close to it," Green said. "It should have been addressed each year but now it's just being caught back up is what it's doing."

Green asked the supervisors to take $100,000 out of the general fund and move it into the matching grants fund.

"There's a state statute that prevents you from cutting checks where there's not cash available," said Green. "And see with it being in the red $94,000, the cash is not available."

Supervisor Jimmie Smith took a realistic position on the problem.

"We should have matched this budget every year with $20,000," said Jimmie Smith of District 2. "Now we're down to the part where we've gone for five years and it's mounted up to $100,000."

The city of Meridian and Clarke County share in the federal drug grant but supervisor Eddie Harper said they've been paying their correct share.

"The city is still paying their portion, but this is just out of our portion. It has nothing to do with the city's or Clarke County's," said Harper. "This is just the bills that we've been billed for, that we've been paying, are $100,000 short over a five year period."

At its regular meeting, moved to Thursday night due to three supervisors being out of town next week, the board approved the transfer of money to put the EMDTF back into the black.