OTTUMWA — There could be a dispute over territory between the Area XV Regional Planning Commission and the Chariton Valley Economic and Development group.

About two years ago, when an initial audit was done and some allegations were placed by a former employee, three members of the Area XV board dropped out and formed their own county of government. Though a county of government is not the same as an Economic Development District, the group feels that the Area XV has crossed into their boundaries.

A letter sent to RPC’s Executive Director Ellen Foudree stated that the Chariton Valley group requested that the Area XV no longer send out letters to the cities under the four-county jurisdiction.

“I don’t see where we are stepping on anyone’s toes,” said Foudree. “We are a federal program where the Chariton Valley is a legislative entity.”

The group recommended to send a response back to the Chariton Valley group explaining their reactions to the letter. This response would include Foudree’s reactions, reasoning provided by the auditor and the fact that the state auditor’s report is not valid.

Meanwhile, in other business, the board discussed the ongoing investigation into the Area XV finances, after which the state auditor did a report and found that 21 cities were allegedly overbilled by nearly $91,000. The report also stated that Foudree altered the timesheets to reflect work on other projects and altered hours.

Though the investigation continues, board members voted to send Foudree and RPC Board Chairman Lawrence Rouw to meet with the Iowa Department of Economic Development to get the situation resolved.

“I think that is what started it all,” Foudree said. “We need to find out first how we are supposed to be operating, whether as a vendor or a subrecipient.”

With that, the meeting was adjourned.

Scott Niles can be reached at (641) 683-5360 or via e-mail at sniles@mchsi.com.

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