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ONLY ON 3: Former fire chief says something strange about Pender audit delay

PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Pender County is nine months behind on its annual audit. In the last two months the county manager and the finance director resigned, but some taxpayers say they lost trust in their government long before that.

Pender County resident and former Surf City Volunteer Fire Chief Demetrius Batts says weird things have been going on in the county for the past three years.

“I can stand here today and tell you that I cannot trust all of them,” Batts said. “No, I cannot.”

Batts says it all began when he was forced to retire as chief from the volunteer fire station that’s right next door to his house when the county started consolidating the volunteer fire stations into the county fire stations.

“A lot of the taxpayers didn’t know what was going on,” he said.

Then the county came in and built a privacy fence between his house and the fire station. He says it’s just gotten worse.

“With the county manager leaving and the county finance director leaving, I would say so, yes,” Batts said.

Batts decided he wanted to know where his tax dollars were being spent.

The county was supposed to submit its annual audit back in October. Interim Finance Director Mike Apple says he’s not sure why the audit has just now been sent to officials for review.

“I can’t say for sure,” Apple said. “I just know that the finance officer apparently was not getting the books in shape for the auditor to come in and audit them.”

None of the county commissioners wanted to go on camera, but Commissioner Fred McCoy says this will not happen again.

The county will review the first draft of the 2013 audit monday before it is released to the public.


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