By Chris Baldus, firstname.lastname@example.org
NASHUA, Iowa — The city of Nashua is not broke. Its accounting is messed up.
That’s the message Nashua Mayor Angelina Dietz tried to relay Monday responding to a community rumor and a city employee’s hesitancy to spend money on a project recently approved by the council.
“I’ve heard that rumor too that we have no money,” Dietz said at Monday’s City Council meeting. “And that’s not true. Things are not in the right funds that they should be, but they’re still showing $2 million. If you look at the treasurer’s report, it still shows $2 million in the bank, so there is still that available.”
The city has hired Treasurer Lou Ann Murphy to help the city straighten the accounting mess, and a state audit was scheduled to occur today, April 6.
The mayor’s response was prompted by an interchange between Water Superintendent Jeff Smith and Councilman Ryan Jung about fencing around a well house.
“After coordinating with Becky (Neal, temporary city clerk) and under her advice, about a week and a half ago — and you guys can obviously reverse this call — I called D & N Fence company and postponed that whole well house fencing project because of the budget issues we’re going through,” Smith said during his department report to the council.
When Smith concluded the rest of his report, Jung said: “With all due respect to the both of you, the council talking about things and taking action and then not having it, is exactly what got us in this mess. So, if we’re not going to do the fences it should have been on the agenda tonight so that we could make another decision. We don’t need one person countering the people that the people elected.”
“I understand that,” Smith said noting that the city has hired Murphy to “figure out finances.” “We’re talking about a $35,000 project that. .. I hear rumors that we might not even have it. I would like to make sure we had it before we spend it. I’m just looking out for Nashua’s financial well-being in that decision.”
Dietz said she too has heard that rumor and said it was not true, the city has $2 million.
“I believe that,” Smith said. “You guys tell me different and I certainly will call (the fence company) right back.”
The fence project will be on the next City Council agenda.
Contact reporter Chris Baldus at email@example.com of 641-426-0740.