Town needs help with budgeting

Posted

To the editor:

My name is Donald Ray Kornegay Sr. I was born and raised in Mount Olive. I am the son of the late David “Bum” Kornegay. My father, a businessman, sold barbecue in the town of Mount Olive near what was called the old cab stand. A picture of my father hangs in the Mount Olive Museum. My aunt, the late Maude Kornegay, was heavily involved in real estate and owned several rental properties on Center and Franklin streets.

I once lived on Pollock Street in the town, unfortunately my home was lost due to fire in 2011. Though I did not rebuild on Pollock Street, I still own the property at that address. I also attended Mount Olive College (now, University of Mount Olive). I am sharing this information to show you that I have deep roots in the town of Mount Olive and to say that I care deeply for this town and its citizens.

I have been following the town of Mount Olive’s annual budgeting process since 2008. I have observed during this period that some of the same problems in the 2008 annual budget report still exist in the annual budget report for 2020.

After talking with a citizen of the town, I was told that another audit would be conducted after I had expressed my concerns on the audits I had reviewed. I was not given the reasons why or a timeline when this would occur. I think it is important for all citizens to know that a full internal audit will be done and when.

I asked another town official in July of this year when was the last time the town had a full in-depth internal audit. He emphatically stated, “We have had an internal audit done,” which was partially true, but the annual audits, according to the auditors, are not detailed and do not reflect what is happening internally.

In fact, the annual budget report, as I interpreted it, said there was nothing lawful they could say. Also, I interpreted this to mean there was something legally wrong.

The town really needs an in-depth internal review to ensure that its citizens are fully aware of what the town is or is not doing properly for them. You may ask, what specifically do I base my conclusions?

  • I have followed the town’s annual budget report for 12 years with no change in administrative action.
  • In my studying and reading of these annual budget reports, in my opinion, there is no one that has the knowledge and proper training in accounting to develop a proper budget and to account properly for the town’s finances.
  • The town does use an internal ledger of received finances and expenditures; this is just three of the problems with the accounting practices of the town of Mount Olive. Do not take my word for it, go to the webpage of the town of Mount Olive and read the annual budget for yourself.
  • The town published an article on its webpage with the mayor and town manager stating, ‘the town administration was good.’ But how can they say this when the annual budget tells us differently?

    An article in the Wall Street Journal stated that the town of Mount Olive is the poorest city in the state of North Carolina with a poverty rate of 33.3 percent. It is possible that some reasons for this rating is improper or poor planning or no planning, as well as the lack of proper budget development. It is my considered opinion that town management should focus on ensuring that more knowledgeable individuals with expertise in developing budgets are on staff. We have recently raised the salaries of two employees, one to $100,000 and another to $80,000, however, proper budgeting in my opinion still eludes the town. Could this money have been spent more wisely, or used to hire an individual(s) with the education and expertise in budget preparation?

    It is time that the citizens of the town of Mount Olive come together, propose and submit an agenda that represents input from all races.

    Elder Donald Kornegay

    Mount Olive

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