Township board differs over voting to pay bills

FLINT TWP. — It briefly looked like the township bills might not get paid on time last week, when the township board took an unusual, but not unprecedented, 4-3 vote against approving payments.

It is not unusual for trustees Belenda Parker and Barb Vert to vote against the motion to pay the bills, based on some objection to those submitted. Last week, trustees Frank Kasle and George Menoutes joined them in voting no.

Kasle said he voted no to find out specifically what their objections are.

Parker would not elaborate, but said she routinely comes in early to go through bill submissions and does “her homework.” She declined Kasle’s request to enlighten the rest of the board about her findings.

Parker vaguely referred to Kasle’s comments a few weeks ago complimenting the supervisor for being in compliance with Michigan Township Association procedures regarding expenditures. She sug- gested that Kasle review the bills more closely to make his own discoveries.

Kasle said he had reviewed the computer runs and did not find anything to object to.

“If you have, you should tell us,’’ he said.

Parker said for as long as she has sat on the board, (since 2008), she has voted no on paying the bills if they included any item she disagreed with.

“I feel taxpayers dollars should not be spent on items they are not going to benefit from,’’ she said. “It is not the first time (voting no) and it won’t be the last time.”

Kasle noted that many times in the past bills that Parker objected have been removed for further inquiry while the rest were paid.

Parker said bills in dispute turned up again in the next billing cycle and were approved.

Menoutes said he also voted against paying the bills hoping to get an explanation from Parker and Vert. He called for a new vote after Kasle failed to gain an explanation about which bills presented problems.

The second motion to pay the bills passed 5-2 with Kasle and Menoutes changing their votes and Parker and Vert still objecting.

Vert said that she does not take lightly voting on matters before the board, including paying the bills. She said she disagreed with how some expenditures were done.

Prior to the revote, Supervisor Karyn Miller said she did not think 20 minutes before a board meeting was the appropriate time to object to bills when the information had been made available to trustees the week before.

Whatever is in the bills was approved by budget or the board-approved purchasing policy which allows department heads to spend up to $1,000 and the supervisor to spend up to $5,000, she said.

She also said that she consults comptroller Beth Takacs about available funds before making expenditures.

She referred to a previous bill dispute Parker raised over $19 spent to provide pop and pretzels to who spent several hours at the township hall conducting a vote recount. After listening to the dispute, a regular member of the audience at township board meetings volunteered to pick up the tab. Miller said she consulted the township attorney.

Miller said that board decisions are a majority vote. If everyone decided to vote no without just cause, the township would not be able to conduct business.

Parker replied that just because a bill is within budget does not mean the township has to spend the money.

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