The City of Allen has a new commissioner.
The Allen City Commission voted unanimously during a special meeting on Monday, Oct. 14, to appoint Harrison Junior Gibson as a new commissioner.
He replaces Clyde Woods, 77, who died on Oct. 7.
Officials reported that Gibson was chosen to replace Woods because he received next-highest number of votes in the 2018 election for city commission. In that race, Gibson received 15 votes, falling behind Commissioner Eilene Kinzer, who received 25 votes.
Gibson, who retired after working at Walmart for 21 years, said he’s lived in Allen for 26 years and decided to seek a commission seat last year because he wants to improve the city.
“I want to try to help get things lined out to where that we can have a better city and everything and get police protection and stuff like that, because, I tell you what, I don’t want to see any more children run over in this city,” he said.
He said he was talking about wrecks that occurred years ago on the steep curve on Ky. 1428 near city hall.
“I want have a safe place for the kids and grown ups and anybody else that can walk across the road,” he said.
During the meeting, he complained about drivers who speed past his house.
He said the city needs to get its finances in order and repair sidewalks and make them more accessible to residents.
Commission members worked on that goal during the meeting, gathering documents that Commissioner Elmer “Fudd” Parsons reported he will send to the Kentucky Department for Local Government to get the city in compliance with state laws. The city is not receiving municipal road aid because it has not filed required financial reports and audits with the state.
Parsons said CPA Richard Paulmann called him last Saturday regarding the city’s audit. The city has not hired Paulmann, but officials previously sent him the city’s financial documents.
“Richard Paulmann told me, Saturday morning he called me and was talking, he said, don’t let the state take it over because it really can get complicated,” he said.
Kinzer said the DLG informed her that Allen must file financial statements for 2016 and 2018, an audit for 2017 and a city officials update form for this year.
The commission voted to advertise for a city clerk and a police officer on Facebook and discussed the possibility of hiring a local gas station manager to handle the city’s finances. Parsons said she would only be available to work in the evenings and mentioned hiring her as a contract employee, but other commissioners voiced concerns about needing a city clerk to do other types of city business. Officials said the Facebook post would inform interested candidates that open interviews will be available at the next city commission meeting.
The city has been operating without a clerk since July, and the police chief resigned in September.
During the meeting, City Attorney Beth Shortridge reported that the city’s insurance for the police car lapsed for lack of payment on Oct. 2, reporting she received a fax from the insurance company regarding an issue with the payment. Parsons, who has been handling most of the clerk duties since the former clerk resigned, said he took the bill to Mayor Sharon Woods, who has been undergoing health issues and did not attend the meeting.
Shortridge advised the commission that copies of the city’s financial ledger and check register should be provided to commission members at every meeting, a practice that is not done in Allen.
“You should, at all meetings, you should be able to see what money’s coming in and out,” she said. “And that needs to be part of it. The check register really needs to be read. You need to know where everything’s going out and where everything’s coming in. If there’s a deposit made, it needs to be read in the minutes ... Really, the whole check register needs to be read into the minutes, everything that goes out.”
Commissioner Josh Kinzer asked where the check register was located. Shortridge told him that Mayor Woods keeps it.
“Can you ask her to bring it to the next meeting?” Kinzer asked.
Parsons said, “I’ll ask her. I’ll either ask her to bring it or send it, one of the two. But now, that’s not going to happen.”
Kinzer asked her, “You don’t think she’s going to bring it?”
Parsons replied, “We’re going to have to do something, I mean ... I’m kind of shooting in the dark right here.”
Shortridge said her legal advice is that a copy of the city’s bank ledger be provided to commissioners at meetings, saying, “It needs to be transparent, where it’s going.”
Parsons reported the city has not had a deposit in a month. Bill were not reviewed during the meeting. Commissioners discussed the need to send out tax bills, with members asking questions about how the former clerk assessed properties for those bills.
Commissioners voted on to send documentation to County Clerk Chris Waugh to report there has been no change in the city’s tax rate. The city approved its tax rates at the same time it approved its budget this year, but the city did not publish the tax rate ordinance or the budget ordinance, as required for ordinances.