Eutaw City Council works on IRS and water problems

The Eutaw City Council met for its regular meeting on April 13, 2021 and continued to work on correcting problems with the water system, bad debts to IRS and other issues. The Council received a report from Terry Tyson who audited all of the water meters in the city system. He surveyed a total of 1,521 meters in the city on nine different routes. Together with Cory Martin, the City’s Certified Water Operator and other staff they found over 200 that needed corrections or adjustments. They found 6 inactive meters, 68 meters with the wrong address, size or attribution; 21 meters that were misidentified by number related to their account; 88 meters with a “0” reading; 10 old meters that need to be replaced; 18 meters serving duplicate residents; 10 meters needing boxes or lids; and 78 meters that could not be found. Tyson agreed to work with the staff to correct the meters that needed to be fixed and find those that had not been found in the first survey. Tyson assured the City Council that once corrections were made that would account for a significant portion of the water loss now reflected in the system between water pumped and water actually billed by the system. The Internal Revenue Service has a lien against the City for unpaid employee taxes, interest and penalties most of which date back to 2016-2020 before the current administration took office. There are some 941- Quarterly Employee Tax forms in 2020 and first quarter of 2021 which have not been filed properly or on time. There is a total payroll tax assessment of $226,077 from IRS of which more than half are penalties and interest. Mayor Latasha Johnson said she retained CPA Rob Pearson of Tuscaloosa to help update and maintain the payroll and tax records. She also said that she dismissed Kathy Bir, City Clerk because she did not inform the Mayor or Council about the problems with filing the employees tax records and correcting past problems. The Council approved the hiring of Rob Pearson to handle the payroll records and the dismissal of the City Clerk. Mayor Johnson says, “correcting the problems with IRS reporting and payment of taxes, penalties and interest is now her highest priority. We are seeking a meeting with IRS to discuss abating the penalties and interest since these mistakes were made by prior city administrations and the current administration is willing to pay or make payment arrangements for funds owed to IRS, after discussion of abatement.”

In other actions, the Eutaw City Council: • Approved $40,000 for GIS mapping of the city’s underground utilities systems like water, sewer, gas. • Agreed to hold a work session on May 4 to include a workshop on workforce development by Ms. Tammie Holley of AlabamaWorks. • Authorized the Mayor to purchase two new police vehicles. • Approved a Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday. • Approved the City’s mask ordinance until at least its first regular meeting on May 11, 2021. • Approved recommendations of the Zoning Board for variance for two day care centers in Branch Heights. • Approved the city’s portion of the County Hazardous Mitigation Plan. • Approved payment of a $5,094 civic forfeiture claim ordering repayment of funds seized in a police arrest. The funds were not placed in a bank account and cannot be located. The current Chief of Police has initiated an investigation with assistance from the District Attorney into the missing funds. •Approved payment of bills and claims against the city.

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