Hessmer Council still refuses to pay P.D. cell phone bill

Hessmer’s administration and Village Council will be granted access to the Police Department’s past cell phone account records, the bill for a new cell phone contract will still not be paid, the council decided at its Aug. 13 meeting.

The council briefly discussed the matter, which was raised at the July meeting. It was noted at the earlier meeting that Police Chief Kenneth Smith had given a police officer authority to enter a contract for a new cell phone account, which he said was necessary to remedy problems with the previous account, which had been in effect for many years.

Village Attorney Brandon Scott told the council in July that the contract was not valid because a municipal authority does not have authority to bind the village to a contract without council approval.

Only the Police Department personnel had access to the account. Smith had allegedly specifically instructed a Verizon employee to give administration officials only the billing information.

Scott will be granted access to the account.

GPS IN VEHICLES

In another matter, the council approved purchasing and paying a monthly charge for GPS in municipal vehicles.

The council authorized spending up to $3,000 -- $1,000 each from the Police, Water and Sewer budgets -- to install the equipment and $200 a month recurring cost to operate it.

The move was in apparent response to allegations that some municipal employees run personal errands while on duty.
2018-19 budget adopted

In other business, the council amended the proposed budget for the fiscal year beginning Sept. 1 to include up to $15,000 for improvements to the former Hessmer High gym and the municipal tennis courts.

The council adopted the budget, which projects General Fund revenues of $219,500 and expenditures of $252,400. It approved transferring $10,000 from Sales Tax Fund and $35,000 from the Water Fund to cover those operating costs.

The town is projecting $95,500 in Sales Tax revenue and $51,350 in expenditures, including the transfer to the General Fund.

The Water Fund is expecting $435,500 in revenue and $379,050 in expenditures, which includes transfers of $25,000 to the General Fund and $11,000 to the Sewer Fund.

The Sewer Fund is anticipating revenues of $61,000 and operating costs of $71,725, requiring the $11,000 transfer from the Water Fund.

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