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Clinton approves Rate Stabilization audit, offers student scholarships

Clinton, South Carolina – At last week’s Clinton City Council’s April meeting, City Manager Tom Brooks announced the establishment of PMPA scholarship opportunities of $1,000 each for two winners of an essay contest on why it’s important for the City of Clinton to provide clean energy to its residents.
The winners will be selected by a panel of judges representing School District 56, City of Clinton staff, city council and possibly others, Brooks said.
The essays will need to be at least 750 words and will be due by May 1.
Council also learned that the Clinton Y will have resurfaced tennis courts available to all Clinton residents, thanks to a Parks and Recreation Development Grant obtained through the combined efforts of the City of Clinton and the Clinton YMCA.
“The city helped us get through the grant application,” said YMCA director Harold Nichols. “It’s a complicated process and we are grateful that we can work with the city to get these funds.”
Nichols and Brooks announced that the Y had been accepted to receive the $71,000 grant and it would cover resurfacing the tennis courts.
Once the resurfacing is completed, the usage of the courts will be first come/first served, Nichols said.

Brooks explained that since this was a state grant, the courts must be open for use free of charge by anyone, regardless of whether or not they have a YMCA membership.
Nichols said he’s hoping that the resurfacing can take place during the summer.
Finance Director Dana Waters introduced city council members to Grant Davis CPA, a partner with Mauldin & Jenkins LLC. The firm was the only one to answer a request for proposal regarding the audit for the PMPA’s Rate Stabilization Fund.
The city had received about $7 million in credits from the Piedmont Municipal Power Agency, which provides electricity to the city, but in recent years the city discovered about $4 million had been spent on city expenses rather than saved for the city’s future energy costs.
Waters said Davis and his team of CPAs will do an analysis of the electric department funds, and compare those findings both with and without the Rate Stabilization Credits.
They will determine uses of the funds based on a very specific itemized list of account transactions within the city’s electric department records during and following the time the credits were given to the city.
Last summer an initial investigation by a consultant showed that the funds had most likely been used to cover general city expenses but former Mayor Bob McLean and several council members pushed for an audit to determine the exact uses of the funds at the time they were spent and who authorized the use.
“This is as close as you can get to a forensic audit without the expense,” Waters said, explaining that the work by Davis and his firm was expected to cost the city from $12,000 to $15,000.
A forensic audit would have been much higher, she said.
Council voted 6 to 1 Monday evening to accept the proposal and hire Davis and his other CPAs to do the audit.
Council member Megan Walsh voted against the decision.

This story originally ran Page 1 in the Wednesday, April 12 issue of The Laurens County Advertiser.

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