Treasurer Confronts County Board About Opening New Accounts

By Leah Williams

Washington County Treasurer Natalie Lynch informed the county board at its regular meeting on Tuesday, July 9, that she needs to be informed about all county bank accounts prior to being opened.

Lynch said she was notified about an account opened by the sheriff’s office at Farmers and Merchants Bank when a representative called her. She said it had been previously discussed at other meetings the importance from the auditors that she was the designated person to open, close and maintain all county bank accounts.

“For my sake I am asking you to carefully consider it when it comes before you to have my back,” Lynch said. “I ran for this office feeling like I was going to be a team player. Right now, I don’t feel like I am being treated like a team player.”

Lynch said the board has a choice of whether it wants to comply with auditor recommendations and make sure that the county is held accountable for all of its accounts.

“If that’s not what you want, I am asking you to make sure that this doesn’t happen again,” she said. “I cannot maintain or be sure that accounts are being reconciled correctly or being handled correctly there had been incidences where have not been complied with. I cannot be sure of that if I don’t know that these accounts exist.”

Sheriff Len Campbell said he was not aware of the pending resolution that would require Lynch’s designation on all accounts. The checking account was set up for the new commissary system that the sheriff’s office for inmates to purchase food and other privileges. The electronically debited system required a new account before it could be put in place.

“I’m not trying to hide anything,” Campbell said. “No phone calls to me were made prior to this meeting.”

Deputy John Kennedy explained the purpose of the new system, which reportedly saves manpower and money.

“This is what our goal is, and that is what we saw when we had this conversation,” Kennedy said. “The money that comes in and out of that account is saved within the jail.”

In other county board news, three culvert replacements were approved for Hoyleton Road District. Those included a 36-inch culvert at Middle Creek Road at a cost of $1,986; an 18-inch steel culvert for Red Bud Road for $1,750; and a duel 48-inch for Cherry Road at $3,626. McKinley Bridge in Oakdale is expected to be finished by early August, weather permitting, according to County Engineer Kiefer Heiman.

Campbell informed the board that there is a new sign outside the sheriff’s office, and the funds toward the replacement were on an all-volunteer basis.

The board denied a special use permit for Michael Heimann to build a new house trailer one mile north of Hoyleton.

Shawn Laws was approved for a zoning map change. The five acres in Hoyleton would be considered residential R1 instead of agriculture.

A six-month contract for current zoning and EMA administrator Matt Bierman was approved, with the funds to be paid through EMA instead of zoning.

The next county board meeting is set for Tuesday, August 13.

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