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City addresses finance issues

Story by Chris Graham

Waynesboro City Council is adding a third member to its Finance Committee, while effectively making the committee’s work the work of the entire council.

“I’m not even sure that I’m interested in writing up some organizational bylaws for the Finance Committee, since it basically looks like an oversight committee. What I was interested in was some kind of more current update,” Mayor Tim Williams said tonight, leading the city council away from a discussion of issues related to the lack of definition in the city code about the functions of the Finance Committee and toward a discussion of steps to initiate a review of city finances at its monthly work sessions.

The council later agreed in principle to direct the city staff to compile financial reports on a department-by-department basis that would then be reviewed by council members.

“We don’t need to be inundated with stacks of financials. But I think we need enough information that we can ask some questions if we have concerns. I would like to see the Finance Committee activated and affixed with what the code says, and then involve all five council members in our review,” City Councilwoman Lorie Smith said.

Smith, incidentally, appears to be the choice of Williams to be the third and final formal appointee to the Finance Committee, which would bring the committee into compliance with the city code. Williams confirmed tonight that he has asked Smith to serve on the committee with Williams and Vice Mayor Frank Lucente. Her appointment will have to be voted on by the full council at a regularly-scheduled business meeting.

According to the city code, the Finance Committee appointed by the mayor has to have three members. Williams appointed himself and Lucente to the committee at last week’s reorganizational meeting, inadvertently, according to his account, leaving the third seat vacant.

Interim city manager Mike Hamp said he would work with his staff to comply with the new direction from city council regarding financial updates.

“We would be happy to at least start and see about the size, perhaps vary or modify the level of detail that we’re getting, but give it a trial experience, and then we can manage the workload by perhaps the level of detail included in the report,” Hamp said.

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