Belhaven audit focused on travel expenses, utilities not being paid

BELHAVEN, N.C. (WNCT) – The North Carolina Auditor’s Office released an audit of the Town of Belhaven on Thursday and found failures in the handling of utilities and travel expenses.

The audit report came after a hotline tip.

The report released found there was over $26,587 in travel expenses for fiscal years 2014 and 2015 that could have been potentially abused since there was no travel policy to follow.

The town’s response to the audit included last month’s adoption of a travel expense policy.

READ: State Auditor’s report on Belhaven

A major part of the audit focused on utilities not being cut-off even when customers were late in paying bills.

The audit said that inaction from the former Town Manager led to utilities not being cut off for 629 delinquent accounts ($429,888).

The audit remarked that if the Town Manager does not follow the cut-off policy, Belhaven might have to raise rates for all customers to recoup the lost revenue.

The auditor’s office said Mayor Adam O’neal and the Town Council knew about the large delinquent account balances.

The town’s response disagreed.

The follow–up response from the auditor is below:

Thus, the Town Manager’s statement “We contend that the Mayor and Town Council were not aware of large delinquent account balances in the Town of Belhaven Utility enterprises,” is inconsistent with evidence obtained during our investigation.

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