JONESVILLE — The Jonesville budget for 2016-17 has been passed but not without some last minute comments regarding the $30 vehicle tax and the accountability of the Jonesville Historical Society.
“You intend to put this $30 vehicle tax upon us citizens and yet you have plenty of money to give to the Jonesville Historical Society,” said Bridget Henderson during the public hearing on the budget. “Some people can barely pay the property tax as it is and I know some of you commissioners don’t even pay property tax.
“And yet you’re willing to take our property tax money and give it to the Jonesville Historical Society of which we know nothing about. We don’t know the directors, we don’t know where that money goes, we know nothing. I haven’t seen the history center open. What’s in there?”
Members of the Historical Society in attendance stated that when they started the history center, the same thing came up with the tourist bureau in Elkin. According to them, they checked their books and found nothing wrong. A few expenses were mentioned by society members including lighting bills, water bills and town functions such as the Jonesville Jubilee. They also stated people should make an appointment to learn more about the society and its functions and accounting.
“I don’t want to visit you,” said Henderson. “I’ve asked for the accounting numerous times. Has the town received my requests to see the paper work and the accounting? Scott tells me he doesn’t have anything and he can’t give it to me. So I asked the commissioners and Commissioner (Judy) Wolfe.”
The Jonesville Historical Society was a subject of concern for a few residents regarding the society’s purpose and status within state and the town.
“If the town of Jonesville is OK with running their own veterans park, why don’t they run it themselves?” said Chip Mason. “If the town of Jonesville is OK with having the Jubilee, why doesn’t the town of Jonesville have a Jubilee? If the town of Jonesville can have a history center, why doesn’t the town of Jonesville run a history center? And my final questions is, if the Jonesville Historical Society has been in great shape since 2010 until now, why do they want to undergo a restructuring process next month?”
“How can the historical society work under the town’s public status and federal tax ID number when it is not part of the town but a private entity? Could this be a potentially illegal matter?” asked David Henderson. “In the IRS, it states that all non-profits are to have their own federal ID number so does that mean the Yadkin Valley Museum Incorporated and the Jonesville Historical don’t have one?”
David Henderson did contact the IRS, he said, to gather more information regarding the status of the historical society.
“I called the IRS and the agent explained what I read in the newspaper article from The Tribune on Friday,” said David Henderson. “The agent explained to me that nonprofit is a state issue and tax exempt is an IRS matter and you cannot claim name with the two unless you are registered with the IRS and state. The reason why these questions are being asked is because public funds are being used and no accountability of these funds have been shown.
“I talked to the IRS again today and the agent informed me that it is important to keep in mind that the original applicant is responsible for all financial activities linked to the EID. If anyone uses the number inappropriately, it may cause a report to be made to the IRS in result of civic difficulty to the EID. He says that in due fact that Jonesville Historical Society or anything related to that is a private entity. The town is a totally different nonprofit. He was not happy when I talked to him. I don’t know how you have been operating in the past, but this is some of the information that I have found out.”
After the budget hearing, Wolfe hoped to make a vote on certain initiatives on the budget primarily regarding the $30 vehicle tax.
“We already pay taxes on our cars and a lot of people have contacted me to express their objection,” said Wolfe.
Council member Andy Green made a motion to pass the budget.
“We worked hard and spent countless hours trying to compile the budget. I personally don’t agree with the $30 tax, but I understand it,” said Green. “I understand that I know the biggest portion of that will be going to resurface roads. It’s not going into the general fund but into the Powell Bill for road maintenance.”
Green’s motion was adopt the proposed budget with the stipulation that when the town funds other entities more than $5,000 those groups be required to produce an audit and show quarterly financial statements.
The motion was passed unanimously.
Troy Brooks may be reached at 336-258-4058.