CARYVILLE - Election qualifying for the Town of Caryville council seats will be held in December, with three seats up for grabs, but council members are unsure of how the required election will be funded should someone qualify to run against Council Chairman Henry Chambers, Councilman Ransom Works, or Councilwoman Nora Curry.
"Are we financially able to have an election this year?" asked Works when the Caryville Town Council met in regular session Oct. 13.
Chambers explained that the town is required to hold an election if any of the three seats are have qualified challengers.
"If even one person qualifies against one of these three people, we have to have an election," he said.
Town Clerk Shakayla Everette advised the council the town doesn't currently have the minimum funds Washington County Supervisor of Elections Carol Finch Rudd says it would take to finance the election.
Rudd states that depending on how many qualify, election cost could range from $2,000 to $3,000.
"They will need at least four poll workers," said Rudd. "(The Elections Office) will set up for the town and loan them the voting equipment at no charge as a courtesy, so that will help some."
Chambers stated the Town would have to find a way.
"We'll just have to rob Peter to pay Paul," he said.
In addition to attempting to organize the December election, Everette is also working to fulfill a Freedom of Information Act Request filed by the Washington County News on Sept. 4 to provide a record of timber sales between 2010 and 2015.
The records are believed to show the Town had around 500 acres of timber cut by three different vendors over the five-year period.
While the Town doesn't dispute timber was cut and sold, council members agree the Town currently has no way of showing how much money was made or where it was applied.
"I can't tell you where the money went, but I can tell you this much: we paid bills with it," said Chambers. "There's some records in there, somewhere in that office."
Everette advised the council she has looked in every box marked 2010 and has consulted with former clerk Jewette Tadlock but has been unable to recover any records regarding the timber sales.
Chambers stated it was possible the records could be in the possession of Carr, Riggs, & Ingram, the firm currently working to perform past-due audits for fiscal years 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.
The firm's Enterprise, Alabama office is performing the audit but could not confirm or deny auditors were in possession of the timber records at press time.
Meanwhile, Everette, who only began her position as Town Clerk earlier this year, states she will continue to search for the records at Caryville Town Hall.
While the council didn't dwell on the looming deadline given by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to bring the town into compliance with floodplain management and land-use mandates, council members do report most identified issues have been corrected, with only one - the removal of asphalt the Town allowed Anderson Columbia to stockpile - not yet ready for the Oct. 30 deadline.
The deadline came after a May 28 visit to the area by FEMA agents to discuss the town's floodplain management procedures and review land uses authorized by the town property it acquired through FEMA mitigation grants.
Among corrected concerns are:
A fuel tank is in the process of buoyancy certification, an action FEMA states will be acceptable to correct the issue of the petroleum tank installation on the “open space” lands on the acquired property that was purchased with FEMA funds.
Rubble has been removed from the DOT bridge replacement project on the acquired property.
Two buildings believed to be inconsistent with the Florida Building Code flood standards have been addressed, with one being demolished and the other receiving flood level certification
In other business, the Town set Caryville's official Trick-or-Treat is set to take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31.