Tempers Flare As Questions Are Asked During Christian County Board Meeting
TAYLORVILLE — Tempers flared while arguments became heated as questions were asked Tuesday night during a session of the Christian County Board, due to county payroll issues continuing to be a problem.
The board was presented with their audit review from 2016 and two items of concern involved an Internal Revenue Service penalty for failed tax deposits and where the money came from to pay for the penalty. Finance Committee chairwoman Becky Edwards presented the issues with the audit before the board, sharing how a failure to make a proper Federal tax deposit, which resulted in a penalty of nearly $13,000.
Democratic County Clerk Laurie Mense, whose office is responsible for the failed deposits, blamed the missed deposits on the new payroll system that the county converted to earlier last year.
The penalty was ultimately paid, but used money from a fund that keeps employee payroll taxes, which was a hot topic with several board members inquiring on the lack thereof of transparency throughout the entire process, as well as why Mense used the employee tax account, otherwise known as an “agency account”, to pay the penalty. Mense claimed the previous board discussed these issues in regards to these payments and stated she wasn’t trying to hide anything.
The problem that lies now is how to replenish this agency account, which would involve the county clerk filing a claim before the county board to replenish those expenses. Mense claimed she was not yet made aware of the need to file a claim, but had one ready to be voted on.
A motion to table the vote on the claim failed, with a motion to pay the claim made by Mense’s office narrowly passing with a 9-7 vote. The board will meet next on April 18.