Nelson Gets Clean Audit, Presses Cherokee on Park Project

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Nelson Gets Clean Audit, Presses Cherokee on Park Project

The City Of Nelson earned a clean opinion on its 2012 audit, according to a recent audit report.During this week’s city council meeting, Welch, Walker and Associates Representative Edgar Land presented the results of the audit to Mayor Mike Haviland and council members. Land said that based on the audit the city’s finances are in excellent shape despite the economy.

“You had no serious problems that you need to work to overcome,”

he said,

Land commended the city on its hard work in cutting costs. He explained the general fund slightly dipped into a deficit, which was offset by the healthy SPLOST fund.

“You had a public safety budget of $93,000,”

he said,

“It was decreased to $75,000 due to the reduction of personnel. Then the general government building budget of $18,000 was increased due to the mold issue that was discovered in the city hall building. Even overcoming all that, you still came out in the black.”

He went on to say the expenses in the general fund were budgeted for $480,000, but the city only used $465,000. Additionally, Nelson’s revenues were approximately $1000 more than the city’s budget. Land also noted that the city saved money in its audit fee by City Clerk Brandy Edwards compiling the audit report.

This week, council also discussed its months-old parks bond project. In July of 2012, Cherokee County presented the city with $250,000 as part of The Three Cities Park Project, which includes Nelson, Ball Ground and Waleska. According to Cherokee Recreation and Parks Director Bryan Reynolds, the bond was approved by voters in November 2008. Specifically, the money is allocated for the renovation of Edmondson Field, which lies in the Cherokee County part of Nelson.

Planning of the project, though, has proved complicated and, at times, contentious. Early in the process, council named Nelson resident Lamar Kellet as project manager. Over the past few months, disputes arose as Kellet presented the results of his research to the council. Additionally, since July Nelson has learned the project at various times has been over budget. As recent as last month, the Nelson Council was prepared to allocate $20,000 from its SPLOST account to cover any additional costs. During this week’s work session preceding the regular meeting, council also discussed increasing this amount to $50,000. Following a frenzied debate during the work session, though, council reconsidered using its own money for the project.

“They know what they want,”

Council Member Jackie Jarrett said,

“Let them tell us how far they’ll go for what money’s left, to keep us from having to dig into our SPLOST.”

During the regular meeting, Council Member Duane Cronic made a motion to adopt the current park plan, as is, with no further changes from Nelson to Cherokee and establish City Clerk and Manager Brandy Edwards the singular contact person for the project. Council approved the motion unanimously.

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