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  • Last modified 5 days ago (May 17, 2018)

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Delay costs city chunk of change

Staff writer

Peabody city council got an unpleasant surprise Monday when it got slapped with a $6,600 charge for accounting services to help reconcile the city’s budget.

Council member Beth Peter asked for clarification on a bill from Knudsen and Monroe, a tax preparation service out of Newton. Mayor Larry Larsen said it was the result of former city clerk Jonna Munson not reconciling the budget monthly.

“Jonna had an account service representative here in an attempt to reconcile 2017,” said Larsen. “Instead of doing every month at the end of the month, she waited until the end of the year. Before she left, she spent several weekends with the account service representative, who took work home. So they sent us a $6,600 bill. We were not expecting that.”

Council member Travis Wilson was concerned about the future.

“So moving forward from this point, are we going to have another bill for 2018?” he asked.

Treasurer Liz Harder responded.

“We hope not,” she said. “Someone will be out later this week or next to start training me to do it so we can start doing it on a monthly basis.”

“This is the third year in a row we had to lean on a CPA,” Larsen said. “They sent us the bill when they were tired of coming and helping and not getting paid.”

Larsen said that the pricey error doesn’t fall on Harder.

“Because Jonna didn’t know how to do the job, I don’t hold Liz responsible for Liz’s lack of training,” he said. “She didn’t know what was going on. Nobody knew this but Jonna.”

Pool manager Rachel Wattson requested several pool updates.

Wattson asked for five $16.95 lifeguard hip packs with first aid and first responder items to comply with Red Cross recommendations.

“I’d also like to paint the outside of the pool,” Wattson said. “The building is very faded, and it’s chipping and chalky. We have two home swim meets this year. I think it’s important to make our pool look presentable not just for the swim meets, but for the community as well.”

Wattson said she talked to Peabody Hardware and Lumber owner Mark Whitney, who said they would need five to six gallons of paint at $40 to $46 per gallon.

Wattson also requested six new shower curtains for the women’s bathroom for improved privacy.

Wattson said she is working with public works director Ronnie Harms to make the pool as safe as possible.

Council members unanimously approved the requests.

Wattson plans to begin the updates Monday, with the help of volunteers. The pool will open May 27.

Last modified May 17, 2018

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