Lansford seeks answers
Lansford Council wants to find out exactly why a Montgomery County accounting firm walked out in the midst of performing the borough's 2011 audit.
With only council President Rose Mary Cannon and Mary Soberick opposing, council members Tommy Vadyak, Andrew Snyder, Danielle Smith and Samantha Yasson voted to send a letter to Maillie Falconiero & Co., of Pottstown, asking the firm why it abruptly quit on Oct. 31. Councilman Lenny Kovatch, who works in Harrisburg, had yet to arrive at the meeting when the vote was taken.
Vadyak proposed asking solicitor Michael Greek to send the letter.
"They won't do it," Cannon immediately said.
She has said previously she asked the firm why it quit, but could not get an answer. The 2011 audit is crucial for the borough to be able to draft budgets and obtain bank loans.
Greek said that before a letter is sent, the borough needs to determine whether the firm was under contract, and for how long.
Soberick agreed, but said that a contract cannot be found.
Cannon on Dec. 19 asked council to hire another firm, Hutchinson, Gillahan & Freeh of Quakertown, Bucks County. However, her suggestion was met with silence.
It's now 10 days past the state's deadline to adopt a 2013 budget, and council has no proposals in sight. Cannon, at a special meeting on Jan. 3 presented a draft budget she said she put together over the holidays.
That $1,474,446 balanced budget called for a drop in the tax rate, from the current 33.47 mills to 32.91 mills. The proposal breaks down to 26.32 mills for general purposes; 1.4 mills for debt; 0.61 mills for parks and recreation; 1.20 mills for fire protection; 2.78 mills for lighting; 0.1 mill for the Panther Valley Public Library; and 0.50 mill for the pension fund. The spending plan also restored $10,000 for part-time police officers that council cut a couple of months ago.
Vadyak, Smith, and Yasson rejected Cannon's budget. Snyder and Soberick were absent, and Kovatch arrived several minutes after the vote was taken.
Cannon, the only one who voted in favor of the spending plan, said she has washed her hands of the matter, and told those who rejected the spending plan that it was up to them to craft a new one.
On Wednesday, Soberick pointed out that as of that day, $196,679 in 2012 property taxes had yet to be paid.
"If we don't have money, it's because people aren't paying," she said.
Without a new budget in place, council cannot make new purchases, obtain grants or take out loans. It can, however, pay established bills and meet payroll.
Council has gotten rates for the routine tax anticipation loan it takes out each year, but the banks need financial information that has not been available.