forced to delay budget hearing
failure to have proper documents ready given as
Unanswered questions by the Platte County Auditors
Office still has the Platte County Commission questioning
exactly why the auditor may have dropped the ball in distributing
copies of the complete budget document to the public.
Untimely action by the auditors office has caused
a delay in holding of a public hearing concerning the
2006 proposed budget, county commissioners said this week.
Originally scheduled for Jan. 13, commissioners were
informed by County Counselor Bob Shaw that a budget hearing
will need to be moved back to 9 a.m. Jan. 17.
The decision to reschedule the budget hearing came after
Shaw learned the budget distributed last Tuesday was incomplete.
We want to eliminate any questions whatsoever about
the availability of the budget document, said Shaw.
The budget document was available on Friday afternoon
in a format that should eliminate any questions to its
As reported in last weeks Landmark, a rough copy
of the countys 2006 proposed budget was handed out
at 5 p.m. last Tuesday by Commissioners Tom Pryor and
Jim Plunkett, but without some vital information from
Auditor Sandra Thomas.
It was put on the agenda by the auditor and we
voted on it (to have the budget available to the public
by 5 p.m. last Tuesday). Unfortunately, that dayI
dont know how the circumstances came to bethe
auditors office was telling the press to contact
the commissioners because they would be putting out a
budget, said Plunkett. Tom (Pryor) and I made
copies, assembled the budgets and thats what I handed
out to the media.
After reading in last weeks Landmark that the newspaper
had made a request to Thomas for her budget message on
Wednesday morning, Shaw informed the commissioners that
the unbinded, incomplete budget copy that was distributed
the day before did not meet state statute.
We found out through the county attorney that what
the commission office handed out would not meet state
statute, stated Plunkett. You can confirm
that because the budget handed to you that night did not
contain the auditors notes.
According to Plunkett and Presiding Commissioner Betty
Knight, state statute says Thomas had to provide a budget
with a table of contents, an auditors message and
an appropriations document 10 days prior to the public
Its not really our responsibility to have
the budget printed and available. We are just responsible
for holding the hearings, said Knight.
She (Thomas) is the budget officer of the county.
Because those items were not presented last Tuesday with
the budget copy the commissioners provided, the county
was required to reschedule the hearing.
The auditors office on Friday provided a
budget that would meet state statute, so consequently,
the public hearing date was changed from the 13th to the
Plunkett said the commission has not received any explanation
from Thomas about why those documents were not complete
as promised in administrative session last Tuesday morning.
I have not been given an explanation by the auditor
about why it was not ready on Tuesday or why it took until
Friday (to prepare the document), said Plunkett.
Knight said she expected the budget to be ready since
it was published in the paper with 5 p.m. last Tuesday
set as the deadline by Thomas office.
I presumed it was going to be available and I just
dont know why it wasnt, said Knight.
Plunkett said that once he realized the media was directed
to his office to get copies of the budget last week, he
felt an obligation to the public.
I do feel as a public official that if I made a
commitment to meet a deadline I will do everything within
my power to carry through with what I said, he stated.
Thomas declined to comment on the situation, stating:
"We talked about this a little last week and Im
not going to comment any further."