Councilmen raise questions about spending

Ralph B. Davis rdavis@civitasmedia.com

October 16, 2013

PRESTONSBURG — Two Prestonsburg city councilmen raised questions about city spending Monday night, after requesting additional information from the city’s auditor about finances.


B.D. Nunnery had requested total figures about the city’s recent sidewalk projects over the past year. He said he grew concerned when he learned that the city had spent $112,000 on the sidewalks.

“The problem I’ve got is that this was a major capital outlay of over $100,000, and we didn’t bid it out,” Nunnery said.

However, Mayor Jerry Fannin said the sidewalk repairs were not one single project, but several smaller projects. He said none of the projects crossed the $20,000 threshold which would have required advertising for bids.

Nunnery, however, appeared unswayed. He said because the city did not advertise for bids on the sidewalk projects, council members have no idea whether they got a good deal or paid too much for the sidewalks.

Fannin countered that the same would be true for any recurring expenditure the city makes over a long enough timeline. He noted that chemicals used for Stonecrest Golf Course are not bid out, but taken over the course of a year, would tip the bid threshold. He asked Nunnery if he wanted to advertise bids on that, too.

Nunnery replied that maybe the city should consider doing so, to ensure it is getting the best price.

Equine center

On a different topic, councilman Les Stapleton said he had requested figures on the Prestonsburg Equine Center, in order to determine whether the city is making or losing money on the facility. He said the numbers he was provided show the facility breaking about even, but the figures did not include labor costs.

Stapleton suggested the center be split off from Archer Park, which currently maintains it, so that leaders can get a better picture on how it is performing.

“We’ve raised it up,” Stapleton said. “Let’s let it stand on its own two feet.”

However, discussion afterwards bogged down on procedural matters, such as whether to make the center its own department or a division within a department, whether to appoint a board specifically for the center, and how to staff the center.

Because horse show season is drawing to a close for the year, council members decided to delay making such decisions and instead have city treasurer Yvette Latta compile an analysis of center revenues and expenditures for the past year, in order to give the council a clearer picture of its operations. Once that information is in hand, council members will then decide on how to proceed with a new ordinance governing the center.

All members except Tim Cooley were present for Monday’s meeting.