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Joe Lee Powell, Alphonzo Morton Jr, LaJeffrey Carpenter absent Mayor Edwards last City of Eutaw Council meeting not held due to lack of quorum

The regular Eutaw City Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday, October 25, 2016, at 6:00 PM was not held due to a lack of a quorum. The Mayor and three council-members must be present to have an official meeting. This was to be Ms. Edwards last regular meeting before the newly elected city officials take office on November 7, 2016.
“The three City Council members – Joe Lee Powell, Alphonzo Morton Jr. and LaJeffrey Carpenter – did not inform me that they were going to be absent. Ms. Shelia Smith was present and Reginald Spencer called and said he would be late.
“ I feel those three council-members deliberately skipped the meeting to delay progress on the improvements to our water system. They knew the important business that was on the agenda for the meeting,” said Mayor Hattie Edwards.
Mayor Edwards advised that she was planning to continue with firing the three police officers: Lonnie Glenn, Robert Clayton and Rodriquez Jones, who she deemed to be insubordinate and unwilling to abide by city policies. The police had a closed hearing with the City Council on October 18. Edwards said, “ I am moving ahead with these firings because it is my duty and responsibility to do so. If the next Mayor and Council wants to reinstate those police officers that is up to them. It is my responsibility to act when city employees do not abide by our policies and treat the Mayor disrespectfully.”
When reached by the Democrat, Alphonzo Morton Jr. said, “I did not go to the City Council meeting because I support the police and I did not want to go.” Councilman Joe Lee Powell said, “ I had another obligation and could not attend.” When asked if he had informed the Mayor of his absence, he said that he had not but he was familiar with other times that other members of the Council had been absent without reporting to the Mayor.Efforts to reach LaJeffrey Carpenter were unsuccessful.
Mayor Hattie Edwards said that the $3.1 million loan and grant with USDA Rural Development was being held up because the City Council had not agreed and accepted an offer of interim financing from Co-Bank, which was willing to provide these funds, at a favorable interest rate.
“I have done everything to put this project in place and I am sad to see that things will be delayed because we were unable to have a quorum for our meeting. I have asked Councilwomen Smith to poll the Council to see if they are willing to hold a special meeting to approve this interim financing agreement before our terms have ended,” said Edwards.
Mayor Edwards also provided the Democrat with a copy of a procedures report from Principal & Associates CPA firm on the financial status of the City of Eutaw, as of September 30, 2016. The report shows the bank balances in 19 bank accounts maintained by the City of Eutaw showing $895,861.68 as of that date.
The CPA report indicates that the City of Eutaw has paid all outstanding bonds and warrants. The City has no outstanding long-term debt as of September 30, 2016. There is one major outstanding bill of $15,667 owed to Waste Management for garbage collection at the end of the fiscal year, which the report calls a normal obligation.
Employee tax returns to IRS were reviewed and found to be over paid. The City has requested a refund from IRS.
The billing for the City Water Department is three months behind (August-October 2016) with an estimate of $147,176 in uncollected revenues. The CPA firm recommends hiring additional staff to read the water meters because those readings are needed to process up-to-date billings for water and other city services.

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