The City of Leachville received positive news concerning the imbalances in water department records during the past two year's audits when the city council met in regular session March 4.
City auditor Al Barnhart, with Thomas, Speight and Noble, exonerated water department staff of any wrong doing, as he explained the deficits were completely the fault of the antiquated computer system.
"The city computer was too old and too little to do what it was asked to do," Barnhart said. "It would run one third of the books and after 1.20 minutes it would quit, drop the bills off the end of the books and leave a large negative balance. This has created all the confusion.
"The water department now has a new computer," Barnhart said. "The general ledger was not working correctly. Everyone has worked very
diligently to solve the problem, and we are pleased to find out just what went wrong so it could be corrected."
"There has been a lot of unnecessary finger pointing over this," said visitor, Kenny Carmichael. "This should not have been done."
"The accusing was unfair," Mayor Ralph Wells said. "The auditors had trouble figuring it all out, but they finally found out what was happening. I am so pleased that the problem was solved and that the truth came out. Now we can move on and put this situation behind us."
Wes Henry, with National Medtest in Jonesboro, addressed the council concerning random drug testing for city employees and firemen. The city's former testing service has relocated to another area, leaving the city presently uncovered.
"We have been in operation for seven years," Henry said. "We service cities, county government offices, industries and schools. We do a six panel testing, which includes marijuana, PCP, heroin, amphetamines,
opium, and Ecstasy. The cost will run $2.52 per employee per month. We will waive the $250 annual administrative fee."
Henry discussed the current drug testing policy and agreed to review and compare it with the National Medtest policy and make recommendations. The council tabled their decision to finalize in order to study the policy further.
Mayor Wells congratulated the volunteers who helped the City of Leachville, as a part of Buffalo Island, earn ACE certification from the Department of Economic Development.
Mayor Wells reported on work done at the city park.
"We got a grant two years ago for $30,000," Wells said. "We are trying to get the park ready by spring, so people can use and enjoy it. We have a lighted walking track, barbecue grills, picnic tables, benches, new swings and chains and are working to repair the merry-go-round. The pavilion is almost completed. We have also planted trees. The Leachville community can be proud of our park."
Mayor Wells reported that the new city sewage pump has arrived and will soon be installed.
Police Lieutenant Kenneth Womack passed out copies of the February 2002 police report to the council. The new police car has arrived and is in use. The 1995 blue Chevrolet police car is ready to be put up for
advertised sealed bids, with the city reserving the right to accept or
reject any or all bids.
The council voted to purchase a new police department computer and software with maintenance contract.
The council voted to purchase Ordinance and Resolution Codification of city ordinances, from the Arkansas Municipal League.
Visitor Marilyn Looney again inquired about the return of the city's road bore machine, which was borrowed by Franklin Kirby. Alderman Estes Williams said that the equipment had not been returned.
"The machine is city property and should be treated better than it has been," Looney said. "This machine should have been returned a long time ago."
The next regular scheduled council meeting will be at 7 p.m. April 1.