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Manchester Mayor says City 2023-2024 Budget is not legal

At the Manchester Water and Sewer Commission Special Call Meeting on May 16, 2024, during talks about the water department budget, a member of the Commission asked Manchester Mayor Marilyn Howard if the 2022-2023 budget for the City had been audited.

TN Code § 6-56-105 (2021)

The governing body of each municipality shall cause an annual audit to be made of the accounts and records of all departments, boards, and agencies under its jurisdiction that receive and disburse funds. The audit shall include, but not be limited to, general funds, highway funds, school funds, public utilities and municipal courts.

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The Mayor responded that it had not and the commission member then pressed about how that affects the 2023-2024 budget:

Thunder Radio asked the Mayor for clarification and she had this to say:

“When the last finance director informed us she was leaving we brought MTAS in to get an exit and transition strategy. It was then we learned the books had not been closed out for 23 which was shocking to find out. MTAS recommended hiring Waycaster CPA Services to come in immediately to help close out the books that had to be completed before our auditors could come in and audit the 22- 23 books. We knew we could not turn in the budget for 24-25 until the audit was completed. We have hired a new finance director who has laid out a recovery plan with sufficient staffing which we are now doing. In the last three weeks that he has been on staff we have made great strides getting it done. I personally have been in touch with the Comptroller who handles our region more than once and he is aware of our situation and what we have been doing and diligently continue to do to follow legal procedures to stay in compliance with what is required of us as a city government.”

MTAS- is University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service-Municipal Technical Advisory Service.

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Vice Mayor Mark Messick told thunder Radio:

“I am as confused as you are. But here it is in a nutshell. The last finance director didn’t do her job. Either she didn’t know how or she just didn’t want to. So our 22-23 budget has never been audited.” 

Thunder Radio has obtained a letter that the State of Tennessee Comptroller sent the Board of Mayor and Alderman dated for May 2, 2024.

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