During the May 29 Special Meeting of the City of Silex, the Board of Alderman voted to subpoena former City Police Chief and City Administrator William Barnes to provide passwords and specific information for accounts held by the City.
That special meeting was to be held on June 10 at 6 p.m. prior to the normal monthly meeting. One problem, Barnes never showed.
After a short phone call by City Attorney Robert Guiness, the board began the meeting and informed those in attendance that Barnes would not be showing up. It was stated that he, through his attorney, never received the e-mail sent by Guiness on May 30.
Before the opportunity to close the meeting, former Silex Police Officer Amber Hayes asked to address the board saying she never received a subpoena either, despite her name being on the regular meeting agenda.
Guiness went on to explain that despite all the former employees names on the agenda, only Barnes had been sent a request to come before the board.
Once in the regular meeting the discussion focused on the City’s debt which at the time of the meeting exceeded over $126,000. During the meeting the board approved to pay nearly $41,000 in outstanding bills.
“We are trying to make some sort of dent and show our vendors that we are working to get them paid,” said Alderman Stuart Gambrill.
Gambrill has been a leader in discussing the bills each month making the recommendation of what to pay.
He stated in previous meetings that this issue wouldn’t be fixed overnight and could take some time.
While that amount paid is substantial at the time of the meeting, it still left the City nearly $86,000 in debt.
That amount will go up after City Clerk Sylvia Roeper informed the board that for the last five quarters the employees withholding taxes had not been paid. According to Roeper, it appears the taxes were taken out, but the former administration never paid them to the state.
Roeper also stated that she and Guiness will be filing paperwork with the state to amass a correct amount owed in the weeks to come.
In new business, the board discussed water bills and past due amounts. During the recent transition, water bills were being estimated and past due bills were not being enforced, however, for the past two months each meter has been read and the board has decided to inform the public via a letter in the most recent bills, that past due amounts will be enforced and water shutoffs will come if bills are not paid by the proper date on the bill.
“If there is an issue, we want residents to come and discuss the reason their bill is past due,” said Gambrill.
Following that discussion, Mayor Chuck Turbeyville along with Gambrill brought up ways of liquidating assets to bring in some money to help with the debt.
Bids for vehicles and equipment will be forthcoming as well as discussion about the lots in the new town of Silex.
That became a much larger discussion as zoning issues as well as other problems with residents could arise. Gambrill stated it was an idea and it’s just in the early discussion.
After a short closed session the board adjourned the meeting.