Audit: City Of Manchester Misused Tax Dollars

MANCHESTER, Ky. (AP) - Officials in the this eastern Kentucky city misused taxpayers' money to pave driveways for nearly three dozen homeowners, state Auditor Crit Luallen said Wednesday.

An audit of the Manchester's finances revealed that the city authorized the paving of private driveways as part of November 2005 contract to pave certain city streets.

The issue was addressed at a City Council meeting that month, with Mayor Daugh White stating that the owners of the driveways agreed to pay the city prior to receiving the service.

In interviews with the White and other city officials, auditors were told that "six or seven" driveways were paved based upon verbal arrangements with the citizens, according to the audit.

However, auditors found no documentation for property owners being billed or the city being reimbursed. They later found evidence that 34 private driveways were paved with city money.

"The State Constitution, Kentucky Courts, and simple common sense indicate that governments should not provide services such as private paving to select private citizens," Luallen said in a statement. "Proper financial management, with the checks and balances required by law, are not optional for government."

City officials also failed to provide the state audits for fiscal years 2004 and 2005, prompting the Governor's Office for Local Development to suspend funding for road improvements to the city.

Calls to Daugh's office went unanswered Wednesday.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

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