Society Hill council receives audit report of Municipal Court

By Jana E. Pye, Editor,

The Society Hill Town Council met on June 9, and were given copies of the State Auditor’s Report for Town of Society Hill Municipal Court.

In documents provided by Mayor Tommy Bradshaw, the report submitted to Governor Nikki Haley from Richard H. Gilbert, CPA, Deputy State Auditor on May 5, the accounting records reviewed by Steven L. Blake, CPA, under contract with the SC Office of the State Auditor for the period of July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014.

In researching the data, the town was found to be non-compliant for not having a Victim Assistance Fund bank account or separate ledger, as required by State law.

According to the report, the town charged the following expenditures to Victims Assistance: a prorated share each of:

• the former Police Chief’s salary
• other employee salaries
• audit fees cell phone
• charges

Total expenditures for the 36 month period ended June 30, 2014 was $50,678.06.

By law, a municipality may not use those funds without giving proof of a budget.

“But in all actuality, we never had a Victim’s Assistance Fund ever set up for the Town of Society Hill,” said Mayor Tommy Bradshaw. “I had no idea. Just as we were surprised to learn we did not have a building codes enforcement officer, we now learn we never had a program set up for this.”

To remedy the situation, part time Town Clerk Brenda Nettles and Mayor Tommy Bradshaw opened an account on Wednesday, and deposited the non-negotiable amount of of $2,645.35 mandated by the Auditor’s Office, and the May percentage of tickets written as required by state law.

“We will work with the Sheriff’s Department to help us with the staffing and programs we need to help for citizens that require help in the future from the Victim’s Assistance Fund,” said Bradshaw. “Since I have been elected, I was never aware of this. We are now operating in full compliance with the State Victims Assistance office, and will go forward from here. I will work on negotiating the fees that were spent, since it was done under a previous administration. Now, we know.”

The council also voted to add a sign to the town playground on Main Street with hours of “sunrise to sundown” to discourage adults that have been reportedly using the playground at night and drinking alcohol on the premises, although it is strictly prohibited.

The Sheriff Department is working close with the town police department to insure coverage 24 hours a day.

Council learned that the plumber hired to do bathroom renovations to town bathrooms did “an excellent job”, and completed his work under the first quoted price.

The new 50 AMP RV breakers were installed successfully at the River Landing site.

Council also voted to charge a fee for primitive camping at the River Landing for $5 per night; the fee for using the bathrooms and the power at the campsite will be $15 per night, with $10 for each additional night. They will receive permission from Town Hall, and the police will turn on the power for them.

A citizen told the council that there were some boards that needed replacing at the dock; Mayor Bradshaw said he was aware of the boards, and had asked contractor Bill Segars who is currently renovating the historic Train Depot to replace them.

Council voted to approve the 1st Reading of the 2015-16 Budget

A public hearing is set for the Town of Society Hill Budget on July 2, at 6:00 p.m. with a special called meeting at 6:30 p.m. for the 2nd Reading of the 2015-16 budget.

The next regular meeting will be July 14 at 6:30 p.m.

Author: Duane Childers

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