Frankford continues to discuss audit, Mountaire well permits

Although the State of Delaware Office of Auditor of Accounts released a report on its inspection of the Town of Frankford’s financials, the town council and some citizens are dissatisfied with the findings.

Property owner Kathy Murray told the council at this month’s regular meeting that, in previous years, the Town was told of “numerous internal control weaknesses,” but nothing was done to address those weaknesses.

“What I find most interesting is the council who served… ignored the state auditor’s recommendations on these identified weaknesses,” she said. “In my opinion, this demonstrates a major lack of integrity.”

Murray also questioned cash transactions within town hall. Resident and former council president Elizabeth Carpenter asked if there was enough evidence found in the report to press charges. Councilman Greg Welch said the Attorney General’s Office found there was not enough evidence to press charges.

“Unfortunately, they didn’t find enough smoking guns. They passed that off as council not showing enough controls,” said Councilman Marty Presley. “If we want to take it further, we’re looking at a substantial financial investment” for an independent forensic audit.

Murray agreed to send her statement to the State on Town letterhead, as the chairperson of the Town’s Budget Committee.

At the September council meeting, the second reading of proposed Ordinance 34, related to amending and establishing the Town’s water rates, was tabled, along with the second reading of proposed Ordinance 35, related to the drilling of wells within the Town.

Council President Joanne Bacon said the ordinances would be tabled until the Town could get clarity on the existing law.

“Hopefully, we’ll have some sort of clarity in the next coming months.”

Presley said the Town should have “good news for everybody by next month” in regard to the Town’s statement of appeal to the State’s Environmental Appeals Board, following the decision of Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC) Secretary David Small related to well permits issued to Mountaire Farms.

Presley said town officials would be meeting with Mountaire later in the week, and that the Town had support from state Rep. Rich Collins and state Sen. Gerald Hocker.

“They haven’t turned their backs on the Town of Frankford. They’re sympathetic, like everybody else.”

The council’s next monthly meeting will be held Oct. 3 at 7 p.m.