Mayor George Bass On State Audit Conducted Recently For Doing Work On Private Property
In early March 2021, I, along with City Public Works employees inspected the area of Alexander Road, North of Railroad Street, for persistent complaints of flooding and standing water issues.
It was the recommendation of the Public Works, and agreement of all involved, that placement of sand over the city right of way and privately owned property to level a low area holding standing water would cause the standing water to drain towards drainage culverts and ditches previously placed to address a long history of drainage and flooding issues in the area.
Because city work on private property was recommended, I consulted with our City Attorney and discussed the proposed sand project. The City Attorney subsequently advised that, with the consent of the private landowner and based upon two separate Attorney General opinions, the City was authorized to perform the drainage work on the private property and right of way.
The sand fill – work was performed between March 10th and March 11th .
In a subsequent regular Board of Aldermen meeting the drainage project was questioned by two Alderman who disagreed with my decision to perform the work.
Shortly thereafter, I and the City Attorney were informed of a complaint made to the State Auditor’s Office, which resulted in an investigation in which City Officials, the City Attorney and I fully cooperated, including providing supporting documentation and legal authority.
On June 15th, the State Auditor determined that the Public Works Department’s use of Municipal owned equipment and resources performed at a cost of $2663.01 was without proper authority. O
On July 26th, the State Auditor responded to my request to provide additional information and for reconsideration of their determination. The State Auditor’s Office explained the failure to have the Mayor’s Directive spread on the minutes before completing the work required the reimbursement of the public funds.
The private property owner also cooperated in the investigation and after having been made aware of the Auditor’s decision, has tended the total amount of the project, including the cost of the Auditor’s investigation to the City of Long Beach. Therefore, all city or taxpayer funds have been completely reimbursed.
Based upon the information at hand, and the legal authority provided by the City Attorney, I respectfully disagree with the Auditor’s determination; however, I respect the authority of the State Auditor’s Office and have fully complied with the requirements of its investigation.
Mayor George Bass