City may have lost up to $200,000
The preliminary report on Nevada City government operations and the situation surrounding Cathy Wilcox-Barnes was released Wednesday at City Hall, with nearly a dozen local residents waiting for copies to be handed out at 4 p.m.
Nevada City may be losing more than $100,000 per year in uncollected fees, the report stated. A second report is expected in 30 days.
“Business licenses for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2006, are approximately $33,000 under budget,” the report stated, which means a 45-percent deficit in total revenue.
City Engineer Bill Falconi’s estimate of the annual revenue loss for water and sewer billing is a minimum of $100,000, probably closer to $200,000, Dennis Diver – one of four consultants hired to investigate Nevada City business practices and the office supervisor position – wrote in the report.
“It appears the billing problem has existed for several years,” Diver added.
The report was compiled by city officials and a team of four consultants.
They were hired after a check for $230,000 to Syblon Reid Construction of Folsom “bounced” on April 14 due to insufficient funds in one of the city’s banking accounts.
There have been 87 “non-sufficient funds” checks without any documentation, the report states. Twelve undeposited checks in the city’s possession totaling $14,173 have also been identified.
The team of consultants has been paid approximately $10,000 for three and half weeks of work. They said they are not sure how much longer their investigation will continue.
M. Catherine Jones, an attorney for Wilcox-Barnes, wrote in a statement that said many issues raised in the report had been brought to City Manager Mark Miller’s attention by Wilcox-Barnes.
“Mr. Miller failed to respond or take appropriate action on these concerns, which included city water and sewer billing and uncollected business license fees,” Jones wrote.
Wilcox-Barnes welcomes “objective and effective investigation into the general management and functioning of all city departments,” Jones added.
Duties for city treasurer, for example, a position held by Niel Locke, who is not running for re-election, are officially listed as keeping “custody of, and (being) responsible and accountable for, all monies and bonds and securities of the city.”
Miller and consultants were not immediately able to produce the job description for Wilcox-Barnes’ office operations supervisor position. She was the only one placed on paid administrative leave.
Consultant Bob Austin said they focused on that position due to internal complaints and complaints from citizens.
Wilcox-Barnes has said the lack of access to her office has led to problems performing her job as Nevada City city clerk, an elected position.
She has also said that city clerk duties require more than part-time hours – the position pays $100 per month – and that the city clerk and office operations supervisor have morphed together over the years.
To reach staff writer Josh Singer, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4234.
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