Letter to the editor: Hempfield audit necessary
In response to Fred Francese’s letter “Cheap shots at Hempfield supervisors” (Feb. 22, TribLIVE): It appears agenda items were overlooked, then placed into effect without public review by the entire board.
Learning that items were not voted on in public, Supervisor Rob Ritson requested an audit of the items in question (“Hempfield to review past votes, but supervisors balk at state audit,” Jan. 31, TribLIVE). These items were reported on by the Tribune-Review (“Hempfield officials find $125,000 union settlement agreement not done in public eye,” Feb. 27 TribLIVE).
If this activity doesn’t attract your attention, Mr. and Mrs. Hempfield, consider the bird pond episode at Hempfield Park in 2012. Here, the Public Works Department began construction of a pond area for a bird habitat. The Westmoreland Conservation District brought it to a halt when headwaters to a public stream were touched (“Hempfield public works director faulted for damaging wetlands,” Dec. 30, TribLIVE). The township spent $32,000 initially on the project, which was not approved by the board, and then budgeted $150,000 for repairs and possible fines.
In the million-dollar category: The Hempfield Township Municipal Authority was sold to the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County (MAWC) for $35 million; $5 million was paid initially, with $1.5 million to be paid each year for 20 years. But what about the $20 million unassigned in various Hempfield authority accounts ? It has a new home at MAWC.
Will $1.5 million in 2019 have the same value in 15 to 20 years? Is an audit necessary? As a former supervisor and taxpayer for 54 years, I say it is absolutely necessary.