As one administration winds down and another prepares to take over, the Colony Town Council on Tuesday discussed action taken in a past administration, the current state of some of the town’s roads and how the change in leadership could affect operations.
A past issue, the sale of land owned by the town, was resurrected Tuesday. A resident has requested to exercise her option to buy six acres of the property owned by Colony; the mobile home she lives in has been on the property since 1995. She said she remembered the sale price being $500 per acre, but that number was disputed. There were several members of the community and past town governments in attendance, but none could remember what the agreement - possibly made in 2000 - said about a price. It was recommended the clerk search past town council minutes to find any agreement made.
Town leaders also heard from residents who said road conditions on Johnson Circle have made it difficult from some residents to go in or out of their driveways. They also noted that the ditches along the roads need to be cleared. Mayor Donnis Leeth said he would talk to county commissioners about getting the road repaired.
Leeth leaves office at the end of this month, along with Councilman Melvin Hammond, who choose not to run for reelection due to health issues. Both Leeth and Hammond, as finance chairman, are authorized by the council to sign checks and manage the towns bank accounts. Councilman Curtis Johnson, who will move to the mayor’s seat next month, is also authorized to sign checks and manage the town accounts. Two signatures are required on every check and to manage the bank accounts.
The town had previously authorized Councilwoman Ethel Alexander to sign checks, but Leeth said Johnson, who had wanted to wait until he took office next month before moving forward with adding Alexander to the accounts, was preventing that.
Alexander asked Johnson why he didn’t want her on the account. He responded that he didn’t object to her per se, but wanted to wait for the new administration to take office. Town clerk Patricia Ponder explained with two of the three authorized signers leaving the council at the end of the month, the town won’t have the two signatures required to sign bills or move funds for possibly a month or more. She said that to add people to the accounts, the bank requires copies of approved town minutes - a process that can take up to a month or possibly longer if there is not a quorum at one of the two monthly meetings. In that time, she said, the town can’t pay its bills which includes utility bills, a loan payment and payroll.
That, she warned, “Could cost the town significant fees in late fees.”
Johnson said a lack of communication was to blame. “It had not been explained like that before,” he said, adding that he would support Alexander being added to the town’s bank accounts.
Leeth asked Johnson about rumors Johnson was going to fire the town clerk after he took office.
“I have asked someone else to be clerk,” said Johnson. “I have the right to employ somebody else.”
Alexander went on the record in support of Ponder. She said the town council is required to approve employee appointments and if asked to remove Ponder, “My vote would be ‘nay,’” she said. “Pat does a good job. I don’t see why we wouldn’t keep her.”