County won’t release $50,000 Bishop Park grant until delinquent accounts paid

By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE – Wayne County is holding $50,000 in Bishop Park grant funding until delinquent invoices for assessment services are paid, City Administrator Todd Drysdale said at the Dec. 19 City Council meeting.

Michael Kado of the Wayne County Department of Management and Budget sent Drysdale an email April 20 stating a balance of $14,269.98 is due to Wayne County for Assessment Office services related to maintenance of Wyandotte databases while it transitioned to an in-house assessor.

Kado said his last communication from City Assessor Thomas Woodruff was on March 9, and calls and emails to him since that time have gone unanswered.

Drysdale said in an email to Kado on April 20 that he had instructed Woodruff to address to matter, and said Woodruff  “is an elected official and typically feels that he does not have to answer to the city administrator.”

Claire Mason Lee, director of Administration and Budget for the Wayne County Department of Management and Budget, told Drysdale on Dec. 6 that the past due assessment invoices were from April through October 2013, and provided electronic communication records to which he said Woodruff did not respond.

Lee also said Wyandotte had past due accounts for roadwork and for prisoner housing, which Drysdale promised to direct to the appropriate parties for payment.

Lee said the Inter-Governmental Agreement for Wyandotte park improvements would be held until the delinquent past due accounts were paid.

Drysdale presented the issue to the City Council Dec. 19 because he said Woodruff did not address his concerns. He said the $50,000 in grant funding was to refurbish Bishop Park restrooms.

Woodruff said in a Dec. 14 email response to Drysdale that the invoices were not paid because he lacked documentation for the assessment services provided by Wayne County. He also said that an April 2013 invoice, for 3 percent of the amount, was billed prior to his term of office, and September and October 2013 invoices were incurred during a transitional period, when the county was maintaining the city’s database.

Woodruff said he attempted to do his due diligence by requesting Wayne County officials Michael Rackleft and Phillip Belcher on numerous occasions for charge verification and substantiation, and said Wyandotte did not have any online files substantiating the amounts invoiced by the county.

Woodruff said before his term began, invoices were paid without documentation of services by Wayne County assessors, and if Drysdale was willing to pay for undocumented invoices he should do so.

Drysdale said in a Dec. 19 communication to the City Council that Woodruff’s statement that he could not corroborate the validity of the work invoiced failed to indicate that any additional effort was made by Woodruff to resolve the outstanding invoices. Drysdale said no viable resolution was offered by Woodruff other than offering to let Drysdale’s office decide whether to pay the undocumented and unsubstantiated invoices.

The City Council passed a resolution Dec. 19 instructing Woodruff to provide a written resolution to the issue at its Jan. 9 meeting.

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