The Peru Town Council discussed accounting problems at its Aug. 22 meeting. From left to right are: Council Member Susan Polhemus, Council Member Kregg Bruno, Town Attorney Donald Biggs, Supervisor Peter Glushko, Council Member Brandy McDonald, and Council Member James Douglas.
The Peru Town Council waded through confusion at its Aug. 22 meeting regarding whether funds intended to go toward the Heyworth Mason Park and walking trail projects had been transferred into a reserve account as planned.
Supervisor Peter Glushko said the money was in the process of being moved, though he believed a lot if it already had been transferred.
Town Board Secretary Pamela Barber said Carolyn Tetrault, a certified public accountant working for the town, was preparing to move the funds but was called away on an emergency.
Council Member Susan Polhemus said she didn’t know why that should stop Peru from acting independently.
“Why can’t we do it?” Polhemus said. “We’ve always done it in the past. It’s just moving money.”
Glushko said uncertainty surrounded some of the funds.
“Those monies go back all the way to, quite frankly, what were our dark ages around here,” Glushko said. “We want to make sure that money really is there.”
Barber said the town wasn’t sure which funds Tetrault had moved and which she hadn’t. Polhemus said she still didn’t understand.
“If stuff had been moved why is there still only $12,000 in the park (account)?” Polhemus said.
Glushko said that some of the money had been spent.
“There were bills all the way through here for engineering costs and whatever,” Glushko said.
Polhemus wasn’t satisfied.
“Right, but then somewhere along the way you would have had to do an approval to move the funds in the reserve to the regular account to be used,” Polhemus said.
“You’re right; you’re absolutely correct,” Glushko said. “We’re all still trying to figure out what exactly wasn’t done. We are not sure. That’s the problem.”
The supervisor added some of the accounting problems of the past had not been immediately rectified.
“I hate to raise this ghost up,” Glushko said. “You go back to 2006 when the comptroller came in, threw their hands up, and said, ‘We can’t do anything. We don’t have any idea what’s going on.’ Well that didn’t just stop suddenly. Some of that stuff continued.”
In other regular business:
The board briefly discussed the highway work done for Jay during the spring flooding by Peru workers, which is believed to have cost tens of thousands of dollars, before taking the issue into executive session.
Jay and Peru have a contract under which they share services. Highway Superintendent Michael Farrell said in getting Peru compensation from Jay, he didn’t want to wreck his contacts with the town.
“It’s a touchy subject with me because we have a good working relationship and I really don’t want to screw it up,” Farrell said. “But I understand the board’s way of thinking too. It’s a double-edged sword.”
The supervisor, on Aug. 22, estimated the cost of assistance provided by Peru to Jay during the flooding to be around $25,000. Glushko said he hoped this will be repaid with an increased number of Jay’s services shared with Peru.