|Henryetta residents are going to have an additional $4 tacked onto their utility bills for the next four months. That is the cost to pay the $40,000 charged for an audit called for by just over 300 people last year.
The city council approved the surcharge Tuesday night by a 3-2 vote that keeps the city from digging into it's reserve funds.
The audit from the state was requested last year followed the second of two petition efforts by several people. State law calls the petition valid if ten percent of the registered voters within the town sign it. An initial attempt fell short of the goal last spring.
"There was very little support for it," said councilman Henry Koelzer Tuesday night. "We have a small number of citizens that agreed to pay this bill. They wanted to find evidence of fraud, waste and abuse."
He went on to say, "Preliminary reports from the auditors indicate they found some minor issues. One inspector told me our open meetings act, the minutes and agendas are the best ever seen."
Mayor Bill Goodner argued against the surcharge saying some $240,000 has been added to the city coffers through a 15 percent utility rate increase and redirection of a 1.5 cent sales tax to the general fund. "If it comes from a surcharge or the general fund, the money comes from our citizens."
Councilman Denny Hold joined in the argument against it saying the city has, "raised enough money. This council has enough to work with than any other in the past. We got to have some 'I needs' instead of 'I wants'."
Councilman Audie Cole pointed out the city still has some other bills including insurance that has to be paid for between now and the end of the fiscal year in June. He pointed out the city has received a bill for part of the 2011 replacement of the Fourth Street bridge on Coal Creek. "We thought it was paid for."
When the vote was taken, Goodner and Hold voted against it while Koelzer, Cole and Jennifer Clason voted in favor.