By Thomas Huxley

This forum is in response to Curry Coastal Pilot articles published July 4 “County budget changes denied,” July 18 “Boice could face small claims court,” July 21 “Boice will be sued” and “County approves four delayed budgets.”

Statements, opinions or hearsay from individuals should not be published in news articles as fact without verifying the accuracy of the information before releasing it.

Inaccurate statements reported in the July 4 and July 21 articles regarding supplemental budgets were appalling.

County Accountant Kallstrom was reported in both articles saying: “…the law says any supplemental budget appropriation that does not exceed 10 percent of expenditures only needs to be noticed as part of the agenda, which she did.”

“Only one item had expenditures exceeding 10 percent.”

Both articles reported that Commissioner Huxley argued on a “technicality” that the public was not properly notified that the supplemental budgets would be discussed and that state laws and regulations only allow supplemental budgets in the fiscal year in which they are submitted.

Technicality or not; the Oregon Department of Revenue (DOR) states:

“If Change is 10% or less –

Publish notice of the regular meeting:

• In newspaper, by 1st class mail or by hand-delivery

• Include a statement that a supplemental budget will be considered at the meeting”

Source: Basic Local Budget Law 2018 - Oregon DOR (Page 127)

https://www.oregon.gov/DOR/programs/property/Documents/local-budget-workshop.pdf" class="auto" target="_blank">class="s1">https://www.oregon.gov/DOR/programs/property/Documents/local-budget-workshop.pdf

As for only one item having expenditures exceeding 10 percent:

When the same four supplemental budgets submitted June 27 were resubmitted July 18, 12 (not just one) of the 18 funds were listed separately in the Pilot and Curry County Reporter July 11. Both publications referred to supplemental budgets proposing a change in any fund’s expenditures by more than 10 percent as required by a pesky technicality — Oregon budget law.

Curry County has typically ignored the approved appropriation limits by simply transferring whatever additional funds were needed toward the end of the year to provide for the over-expenditures.

Pages 114 and 115 of “Basic Local Budget Law 2018” explain in simple terms the importance of not overspending the appropriation amounts approved during the budget process.

“Adopting a resolution or supplemental budget after an over-expenditure does not correct the violation of Local Budget Law.”

The accounting firm currently preparing the Curry County financial report (audit) for the year ended June 30, 2018 was asked “…whether it is acceptable practice to create supplemental budgets to authorize changes in a prior fiscal year’s budget?”

The audit team managers written response July 31, 2018 was: “In our reading of ORS 294, it appears that a supplemental budget should/must be approved during the year it applies to.”

Statements reported in the July 18 and July 21 articles regarding the infamous county travel policy continue the embarrassing drama in what some may affectionately refer to as the Curry County and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

July 18, Commissioner Boice is reported saying “…he’s offered ‘two or three times’ to pay the county back. ‘And I was ignored,’ he said.”

Just three days later (July 21) Boice is reported stating “I’m not going to pay back the money…”

Why wasn’t documentation supporting the statements reported July 18 provided or, requested and included in the article?

Why wasn’t Boice simply asked to reduce the July 18 statement to writing, follow county policy, repay the money and end the drama?

Further on in the July 21 article “Boice will be sued” Boice is reported noting that during the fire (Chetco Bar) briefings last summer Huxley was “nowhere to be found.” Boice is then quoted saying “It is my 24/7 commitment to help our county overcome, repair and recover from the destruction wrought by his (Huxley) incompetence and executive malfeasance.”

No evidence is provided to support these libelous statements. The Pilot simply printed verbatim what Boice said.

Had Boice shown up to the Aug. 18, 2017 Board of Commissioner emergency meeting he would have “found” Commissioners’ Gold and Huxley declaring an emergency fire conflagration, requesting assistance and delegating local emergency action regarding the Chetco Bar Fire.

So remember, just because the Pilot reports something or quotes someone saying something does not necessarily mean it’s true.

~~~

Thomas Huxley is a Curry County Commissioner.

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