The Oak Grove City Council met Tuesday night for its regular meeting to consider a budget amendment for the purchase of police vehicles, a sexually oriented business ordinance and a meeting conduct municipal order.
Oak Grove Police Major Victor Lynch explained to the council that the police department was requesting the approval to purchase three new police cruisers on this year’s budget after the department ran into an issue with the Ford dealership they had purchased the vehicles from and COVID-19.
Lynch explained that last year, OGPD requested three new vehicles and the council had approved the purchase. However, due to issues with the dealership as well as the coronavirus, the department wasn’t able to receive those vehicles until this year.
Oak Grove Finance Director Bobbie Crawford shared that she was able to move the funds set aside from last year’s budget for the vehicle to this year’s budget to purchase the three that were ordered last year.
However, Lynch and Crawford continued to explain that OGPD had requested the city to approve three more vehicles this year on the current fiscal year’s budget, prompting the amendment to the budget to allow for the purchase.
“The problem we ran into is that we had to take the money for the new vehicles off the new budget to pay for the vehicles off the old budget,” Lynch said to the council.
“So, what we’re asking for is the money to pay for the three vehicles off this budget that was already approved (last year).”
Lynch also explained that the three vehicles OGPD requested from last year’s budget had arrived at the department roughly a month ago.
The three newest vehicles the department requested are currently at Pennyrile Ford in Owensboro being fitted with police equipment and are waiting to be paid for by the city.
Crawford explained that the city would be able to afford the three newest vehicles as Oak Grove was able to secure grants through the COVID relief CARES Act funds that paid for police officers overtime, leaving some extra funds already allocated to the department.
“When all was truncated, we were able to basically save about $302,000, even though we’ve moved the (previous year’s) vehicles over, by getting the CARES Act money,” Crawford said.
Council member Kisha Mische-Jeffrey shared, however, that she was against making any budget amendments until the council has an opportunity to have a separate meeting focused solely on reviewing this fiscal year’s budget.
“We have not received a full accounting of the CARES Act funds that have been made available for us to evaluate and we still have not evaluated our budget taking into consideration these additional expenditures,” Jeffrey said to the council.
“I really feel like we continuously are making these budgetary decisions without having a proper overview meeting and I would love with our new finance director on board, for us to have a separate meeting just covering the budget before we make any further decisions in order to be sure that we don’t need to make any other budgetary amendments, cuts or adjustments before we move forward in any other way.”
Council member Jackie Oliver expressed her agreement with Jeffrey before Jeffrey made a motion to table the budget amendment in order for the council to have a committee of the whole meeting to review the budget.
The council then agreed to hold a committee meeting Thursday for that purpose.
Following that decision, Council member Janet Edwards once again brought up the council’s consideration of hiring an outside forensic audit.
“We’ve kind of come to a stalemate on the independent audit,” Edwards said to the council. “I haven’t received any communication back from any of the other councilors. So, I want to know some people’s feedback on where we’re sitting with this right now.”
Jeffrey shared that she would like a full forensic audit on the city and would like a quote from Lexington accounting firm Dean Dorton that Edwards had been in contact with.
Much like in previous discussions on the matter, Council member Jean Leavell shared that she was against hiring an outside auditor and instead was in favor of having a forensic audit performed by the city’s usual annual auditor Borland Benefield after the conclusion of the regular yearly audit.
Oliver shared that she was against that idea and was in favor of having an outside auditor perform the forensic audit.
Edwards then made a suggestion to potentially move forward with a forensic audit.
“I’ll go ahead and contact the gentleman and see if we can get him to come down within the next week or two and do a review of our books and have him give us a proposal and a time frame,” Edwards said.
Mayor Theresa Jarvis reiterated that if the council were to do that, Dean Dorton would charge the city an hourly rate.
“I think it’s something we just have to do,” Edwards said in response.
The council agreed with Edwards’ proposal. She stated that she would be in contact with Dean Dorton to set up a meeting with the auditor.
In other council business
- The council unanimously approved the second reading of the sexually oriented businesses ordinance.
- The council approved a municipal order outlining the conduct for future legislative body meetings, including both council meetings and committee of the whole meetings.