Funds called into question, vehicle repair quotes sought

By Debbie Hall and Cory L. Higgs

Patrick officials recently questioned a proposal to use funds from the Patrick County Parks and Recreation Department’s activity account to buy a truck that would be used by the county maintenance and Parks and Recreation officials.

When asking the Patrick County Board of Supervisors to consider a request to buy a 2014 4500 Dodge Ram truck, county officials said the county’s 1990s Chevrolet 3500 truck currently in use is a hazard to operate, has bad brakes, is difficult to start and other issues. (See related story, Truck purchase put on hold pending further review)

Tom Rose, then county administrator, said he received 12 bids in the county’s quest to replace its current truck. Rose requested the board approve $29,800 for the cost of a 2014 Dodge Ram 3500.

In response to The Enterprise’s request for copies of all bids, the county emailed a Vehicle Bookout Sheet from GR Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac.

A 2014 RAM 4500 Tradesman/SLT truck with a base price of $28,825 was detailed on the first page of the packet. Optional equipment pushed the Black Book cost to $30,650. The price quoted to the county for the truck which had 106,559 miles was $29,800.

A second page, titled “Summary,” included a photo, but did not include a stock number, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or other identifying information.

Mayo River District Supervisor Clayton Kendrick asked about a quote to repair the truck.

Rose said a repair quote was not available.

Ed Belcher, who oversees maintenance for the county, also said a repair quote is not available, as was information about specific types or costs of past repairs to the truck.

However, Belcher said the truck currently in use by the county was in a state of disrepair in 2015-16 — when he assumed his position with the county. Now, “the truck is wore out. It’s an antique. It’s flat wore out,” Belcher said, and added if it were his truck, he would opt to buy a new one.

The truck, he said, has been passing annual safety inspections.

Also, during the Jan. 6 meeting, Treasurer Sandra Stone and Finance Director Donna Shough fielded questions about the Parks and Recreation Department’s activity fund from supervisors that included Denise Stirewalt, of the Peters Creek District.

Stone said later that Parks and Recreation funds are budgeted and operate by the same guidelines as all other county departments, with the exception of a prepared budget.

Stone said every department prepares a budget and creates line items for various expenses.

The Parks and Recreation Department does not present a proposed budget, due to the “unpredictable” number of participants in activities and rentals, which bring in the most revenue, Stone said.

In 2019, rental and activity fees generated approximately $24,000. As of Jan. 9, 2020, the department has brought in approximately $10,000 in rental and activity fees, she said.

Stone added that the funds fall under the Parks and Recreation Department’s purview and as such, are to be used for that department’s expenses.

Shough also was contacted after the meeting.

She explained that any funds not used by departments in one fiscal year roll over to the next fiscal year, pending approval by the supervisors at the end of fiscal year meetings in June.

She said a specific reason is needed to carry funds over, and explained that many of the departments that carry funds over are those that handle emergency funds or departments like tourism, which receives grant funding. She said carryover funds for the Parks and Recreation Department were “because of the activity fees.”

 

She added that $32,085.17 of funds unused by the Parks and Recreation Department in 2019 rolled or carried over to 2020.

Shough said each park has a maintenance fund that is used to pay for maintenance and repairs.

Each of the six parks in the county also receives an annual $5,000 donation from the Tourism Department, according to Sandra Belcher, tourism director.

Until recently, the annual donation was $10,000, Belcher said, and explained the amount was reduced after the supervisors suggested the Tourism Department direct some funds to a br

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