COLUMBIA FALLS, Maine — Columbia Falls officials are baffled by a bank account with a balance of $19,296.67.
At a selectmen’s workshop on Oct. 22, Treasurer Grace Falzarano presented 13 items that were discovered when Ken Foster of Foster & Co. recently inspected the town’s financial records and bank accounts.
Most of the items concerned simple accounting errors, and no money was found to be missing. However, among the discoveries was the mysterious account.
Falzarano said she found out from Machias Savings Bank that the account was opened July 16, 2010, with an initial deposit of $9,003.51.
She posed several questions in a memo she handed out to the selectmen and the approximately 12 citizens who attended Thursday’s meeting.
“Where did this money come from?” the memo states. “What is the purpose of setting this money aside? Was this done per the selectmen in a legal meeting? If it wasn’t done per the selectmen in a legal meeting, do we need to take care of that now?”
No one seemed to know.
“As treasurer for the town, I have asked about this account several times and not received any information other than the proof that it is indeed in the bank in the town’s name,” Falzarano’s memo says.
John Tibbetts, chair of the selectmen, said the account may have been opened with money from a certificate of deposit that matured. But he didn’t know for sure.
He also said he believes the money had been transferred to Machias Savings Bank from another bank.
“We kind of need to know what [the account] was set up for,” said Falzarano.
Tibbetts said he had been looking through meeting minutes to see if he could find anything, but so far he has not.
There have been questions about the financial record keeping before in Columbia Falls, including about recreation committee funds that led to the previous treasurer’s resignation in 2014.
But after looking into allegations that municipal funds had been mishandled, the attorney general’s office released a report in January saying it found no evidence of wrongdoing.
Tibbetts said Thursday as he opened the selectmen’s workshop, “Our purpose here tonight is to hear a report … not to cast blame or make accusations.”
He said Friday he wants to “straighten things out and move forward.”