Sunday, April 14, 2024

Bill prompts BOCC concern, discussion

Staff Writer | April 3, 2024 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — A claims and demand batch were the only items on Tuesday’s Bonner County commissioners’ meeting agenda this week, which resulted in a fairly concise discussion.

That, however, did not mean it was without disagreement among the trio.

Bonner County Clerk Mike Rosedale came before the board with the batches, which totaled roughly $1,012,000. There were four “big ticket” items in these batches, Rosedale said: Colburn project funding for $152,000; medical funding for $151,000; $125,000 for a litigation settlement; and $53,000 for healthcare administration.

However, Commissioner Luke Omodt pointed out another line item on the 17th page of the batches — an invoice from Eide Bailly, a regional public accounting and business advisory firm. While the invoice was not for a particularly large sum of money, Omodt voiced concerns about it for other reasons.

According to the commissioner, the board passed a motion in January that required all claims being paid from certain accounts to be submitted to the board for a bill review before the disbursement of those funds.

“I have not seen that expense,” he said.

Omodt stepped down from the chair and moved to approve the claims and demand batches, aside from the Eide Bailly invoice — totaling roughly $2,250 — until further review.

Commissioner Asia Williams disagreed with Omodt’s suggestion.

“This bill results from the fair board being instructed by the prosecutor’s office,” she said.

Williams said the invoice came from the prosecutor level with the understanding that it was an opinion that was given to the fair board. She claimed the only reason it seemed to be an issue was that some commissioners did not like the opinion that was given, but that was not a valid reason to refuse to pay the bill.

“Failure to make this payment is a disservice, not just to the fair in Bonner County, but also to external partners that take on our work with an expectation to be paid,” she said. “This bill was from months ago and we haven’t paid it because of politics.”

The District 2 commissioner warned the board that it would create yet another negative interaction with the prosecutor’s office should the bill be denied.

Commissioner Steve Bradshaw asked Williams if she had a copy of the invoice, as he claimed the clerk’s office had not received it and the prosecutor’s office had not yet shared it with the commissioners.

“Until they do, I’m not in favor of paying it until we know what we’re paying for and Mr. Rosedale has a receipt for it,” he said.

However, Rosedale said that was not the case, and that all necessary steps had been completed. The clerk’s office received a proper receipt, it was properly entered into the system, and the county’s comptroller properly approved it. The only issue, he said, was that the instruction to submit the invoice to the commissioners for a bill review slipped through the cracks.

“There was a directive signed by the board in January that said anything going to the 03471 or [7100-7200] account wanted to go before bill review,” he said. “It didn’t say they wouldn’t pay them, but it wanted to go through the legal bill review. That is my understanding of why this is here. I have no dog in this fight, but I think that clarifies what is happening here.”

Omodt said he remained steadfast in his opinion of not paying the invoice until properly reviewed.

“I am very comfortable paying this bill, but I would like to have an understanding of what it is,” he said.

The motion passed 2-1, with Williams voting against it.