Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 22, 2008
By John Howell Sr.
Como town officials on Friday heard the terms proposed by the Internal Revenue Service for repayment of over $184,000 in unpaid deposits of employee deductions.
Town board attorney Parker Still told Mayor Judy Sumner, Alderman-at-Large Forster Ruhl, Aldermen Everette Hill, Bill Mitchell and Clark Gregory, and about 25 citizens who attended the special meeting called July 18 that the IRS would accept $2,400 per month starting August 10.
Penalties and interest on the amount would continue, Still said. At $2,400 per month, payout is expected to be complete in nine years and to total about $250,000, Still added.
The debt to the IRS covers a period from 2005 through 2007 when deductions withheld from employees’ paychecks were not deposited with IRS nor reported quarterly as required by law. The failure became apparent last July when the IRS seized the town’s bank accounts, bringing to light a crisis of apparent municipal fiscal mismanagement dating back several years.
Ruhl asked Still about the liability for current elected officials if they agree to accept the terms and who then leave office.
Mitchell said that his recent analysis of the town’s revenue and expenditures led him to believe that Como has about $6,000 income in excess of current operating expenses, but he questioned about other amounts past due and the current need for expenditures to repair the sewer system.
Still said that he would ask the IRS representative to attend the next meeting to answer questions.
In other town business, 11 of 23 owners of property overgrown with summer grass have responded to verbal requests, the mayor said.
“After talking with people, after aldermen talking with people,” the property owners clean up their yards and lots, Sumner said.
Aldermen voted 4 -0 to give notice to the remaining 12 property owners in a newspaper advertisement.
• Aldermen voted 4-0 to allow construction to proceed on a home for Clarence Campbell at 320 Church Street. The town officials have a moratorium in place which prohibits issuing a building permit unless the builder/property owner receives approval by the town board.
• Aldermen voted 3-0 to authorize expenditure of up to $1,500 to allow municipal clerk Scott Rhines to upgrade the town’s bookkeeping system. By the time of the software vote, Gregory had had to leave the meeting. Alderman Ruby Higgenbotham did not attend.