Barbourville officially has a new city council member.
City council members unanimously voted to appoint Jay Hampton as the new city council member to fill the seat vacated when former council member Darren West was appointed to the position of mayor.
The only council member not present was Sherman Lawson.
West said that several people had been considered for the post. “Council members thought he was the best choice,” he said, adding that Hampton will serve through the end of the year.
“He can run for the post if he wants,” West said. “He will serve my unexpired term.”
West said he is pleased that Hampton agreed to accept the appointment. “I thank Jay for his willingness to come on the council and help us out at this time,” he added.
Following his appointment, Hampton was officially sworn in by West.
Prior to Hampton’s appointment, city council members questioned representatives from the audit firm of Jones, Nale and Mattingly.
David Price, managing partner of the firm, explained their firm’s role in auditing the city’s finances over the past few years and, more recently, before auditor’s from the Kentucky State Auditor’s Office completed an in-depth audit of the city.
Price commended the citizens for their interest in the financial condition of the city.
“Barbourville is very fortunate to have a group of citizens that really care about the city’s finances and how things are managed, and how the tax money is being spent…,” he said.
In previous council meetings, the audit firm has come under fire from citizens and council members alike for not finding discrepancies that were discovered in the state audit.
Price noted that just prior to the 2013 audit, the firm was contacted by the state auditor’s office regarding citizen concerns about potential misappropriation of funds at the waterpark.
However, price said that because the state auditor’s office was contacted by council members requesting a special state audit, the firm did not investigate those allegations.
Price said that the purposes of the two audits were different, adding that their audit is held only to make sure that the resources and revenues of the city are recording in the proper places, and that all funds recorded are accounted for.
Price told council members and citizens that in their audit, they found no material weaknesses of accounting standards in the city.
After questions from citizens about why their audit did not turn up the same results as the state, Price said the audit firm did what they agreed to do in their proposal letter, adding that there is apparently an “expectation gap.”
In other action, city council members voted to cash in a $100,000 Certificate of Deposit they now have to cover a $40,000 shortfall in recreation funds to avoid having to cut staffing.
They agreed to take $50,000 of that money and purchase another CD.