Quorum Court learns rebate of jail tax funds being sought; could be costly

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

BERRYVILLE -- At last Friday's meeting of the Carroll County Quorum Court, there was a light agenda that consisted of only one ordinance, that revised the county's personnel handbook.

However, an unexpected issue alarmed Quorum Court members when they learned that the jail tax funds have been targeted by an unknown party seeking a rebate of the sales tax funds --which could be quite costly to the county if officials are unable to stop the rebate and the attempt is successful.

The amendment to the handbook updated the county policy on cell phone and computer usage by employees.

In 2011 there was an incident involving text messages on a county phone that cost the county more than was budgeted, and in an audit, the lack of a clear policy regarding the issue caused the county to be cited in the audit.

The personnel committee presented the amendment as an emergency ordinance to resolve the audit exception as quickly as possible. It passed 10 to 0.

The excitement in the short meeting came during Judge Sam Barr's comments when he revealed that he had just been called by County Treasurer Cindy Collins, who was out of town at the time, that a party had applied for a rebate of money raised by the jail tax.

She informed the judge that the sales tax funds for April and a portion of May would not be made available until the issue was resolved.

The court asked the city's attorney present to see if they could determine who it was, how and why it was done, and what the county can do to stop it if possible.

This could possibly end up costing the county upwards of $100,000, officials speculated, and it was noted that the size of the rebate indicated that it was most likely not a private citizen who made the claim.

It was speculated that a business may be responsible, but again, there is little known at this time. The issue is expected to come up again at the next Quorum Court meeting.

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