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Jeannette: $100K used to pay bills

| Sunday, June 10, 2012, 1:57 p.m.

Jeannette officials say a 2009 bond requisition for $100,000 was used to pay bills.

Resident Chuck Highlands inquired about the money at each of council's last three meetings.

"I'm certainly not here to bring any embarrassment to the city. It's certainly about transparency," Highlands said Wednesday, stressing he was not insinuating any misappropriation existed. "It should be a very easy thing to do to account for the money."

The bond was requisitioned Dec. 29, 2009.

"There were unpaid bills that needed paid," city Clerk Michael Minyon said Wednesday. "I think what happened is it got to the end of December and they realized they didn't have the money to carry over to pay the bills. I'm comfortable the money can be accounted for."

Mayor Robert Carter, who like Minyon was not part of council or the city administration at that time, said the city is waiting for an audit of the finances to receive a breakdown of how exactly the money was spent.

City finances were under close scrutiny throughout 2010 as the city faced a $432,000 shortfall, prompting the application for a $500,000 unfunded debt loan, which was approved by the state's Department of Community and Economic Development.

Carter said the city seems to be on good footing financially.

"We're all caught up," he said.

Council ratified the hiring of Elaine Schott and former police Chief William Drylie as part-time parking meter enforcement officers. They have been on the job since Jan. 31 and are working about 20 hours a week.

There were vacancies because the people who handled those jobs moved on — one to another job and the other to a full-time position in the city's treasury department. There were three applicants for the two positions.

The motion passed 3-2 with Councilmen John Busato and Jeff DePalma dissenting.

Busato said the money would be better spent on two part-time police officers who could write parking tickets.

"At almost exactly the same price we could have part-time police walking the avenue and taking care of the meters who could also be used out in the community to back up the police if needed," Busato said. "To me, it would be a better use of money and manpower."

DePalma reiterated his stance the city should remove all parking meters.

"The people they hired are good people," he said. "I think we should do it a different way."

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