The state auditor’s office asked Patrick County to provide additional financial information to determine financial distress and potential follow up by the state, but several local officials said they did not get the memo.
A majority said they will consider the state’s request, possibly at the Dec. 17 meeting.
The letter was to inform county officials that the 2017 Virginia Acts of Assembly (now updated to 2018), directed Martha S. Mavredes, auditor of public accounts, to establish a prioritized early warning system to identify possible local fiscal distress within Virginia localities and monitor annually, if needed.
The Dec. 7 letter also included a financial assessment questionnaire and other documents.
Localities like Patrick that were identified as needing further review were notified. The locality then must advise the state auditor by Jan. 11 of its decision to allow the extra follow up and review by the state.
The packet was sent to Lock Boyce, chairman of the Patrick County Board of Supervisors, and Tom Rose, county administrator. Other supervisors, two county staff and two state officials, also received a copy, according to the letter.
When contacted by “The Enterprise” on Monday, Rose said he had not seen the letter and requested an emailed copy.
After receiving the email, he said, “this is the first time I have read this” letter. “I find it peculiar that” he had not received it.
Rose said later that the email was found in his junk folder.
Rose said he wants to determine the ramifications of participating before offering his opinion. He also wondered if participation would mean additional state funding or help to indentify additional revenue streams.
Given the county’s current financial situation, “I guess I don’t understand why we have the choice” of participating, Rose said.
Boyce said he also had not received the information from the state, but noted “we will certainly discuss” whether the county participates. He said the county’s financial situation is not as dire as portrayed.
Boyce said he continues to wait for someone to explain to him where “the holes in the bucket” are in terms of spending, and also noted the county has not had to use any of the proceeds from an up to $3.5 million Revenue Anticipation Note to pay its bills.
The false portrayal “is a concerted effort to get rid of me” and prevent his reelection to the board next year, Boyce said.
The board did not discuss the state’s request during their meeting on Monday night. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 14.