It also was learned that a contract was signed to drill one well before the federal funds were available and that work on the project started before a release of funds was received.
Ward's letter discloses that six invoices totaling $877.97 were double-billed for reimbursement from the federal government and that a $1,000 invoice related to the water well project was sent to the wrong agency for repayment.
Ward wrote that turnover among key town officials and staff contributed to problems with the grant's administration.
“The positions of mayor, all council members, the town clerk and the town treasurer are staffed with different individuals than those who would have received an initial briefing from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce,” Ward wrote. “Quiet simply, when turnovers in key positions occur in local government, things sometimes slip through the cracks — even important things.”
Federal grants are essential in small towns, he wrote. “Hinton can ill-afford to have its privilege of applying for future CDBG grants revoked.”