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10-05-05 Councilor: ´Actually it’s embarrassing’

By William Kincaid

  ROCKFORD -- Councilman Keith Rutledge voiced concern Tuesday about the village's failure to transfer the town's money from Peoples Bank Co. to Community First Bank & Trust.

  During the Aug. 16 village meeting, after Councilman Eugene Steiner researched banks, council passed legislation to transfer the existing funds from Peoples Bank Co. -- which council has used for nine years -- to Community First for the next two years.         But the money still has not been moved.

  "Actually, it's embarrassing, that's what it is," Rutledge said.

  Apparently there was a misunderstanding at the August meeting. Although the minutes state that the town was to sign a two-year contract with Community First, the document was in actuality simply a depository agreement, allowing the village to deposit funds from Aug. 22, 2005, to Aug. 21, 2007.

  Steiner said Tuesday he thought council was entering into a contract, not a depository agreement.  Village Clerk-Treasurer Amy Lyons said she went to Community First after the August meeting to make arrangements. She said she received the depository agreement, signed by the bank's president and vice-president, but there was no place for her to sign the document.

  Rutledge has accused Lyons at the last two council meetings of not signing the contract. Lyons said the new account has been set up but because the village still has $300 worth of non-refundable checks, some council members thought the checks should be used before transferring the funds to Peoples Bank Co.

  "You presented this to us as a bank contract," Rutledge said. "You want to play on words, go ahead."

  "This is not going to happen overnight (the transfer of funds). This is not a simple process," Lyons said.

  "I don't want to give away $300," Steiner interjected.

  The council's argument over the transfer of funds and the remaining checks lasted nearly an hour. At one point, as Rutledge continued to quarrel, Lyons said, "You can stop slamming me anytime."

  By the end of the meeting, Lyons was in tears.

  Steiner finally ended the dispute by calling for a resolution that would keep $40,000 in the Peoples Bank account -- which would be automatically closed on Jan. 1 -- to cover outstanding checks while mandating all remaining funds be transferred to Community First Bank by the beginning of 2006. The resolution was unanimously passed.

  In other news, Councilwoman Amy Joseph said the community swimming pool lost $4,000 during the summer. Also, council gave $200 to the fire department for candy and prize money for the Halloween parade and costume judging.


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