WAGENER, S.C. (WJBF) — Aiken County leaders are working to tighten control over Wagener fire fees. “I will certainly hope that there’s been nothing nefarious or no money absconded with,” said Aiken County Councilman Sandy Haskell.

The Aiken County Council unanimously passed a resolution on October 17, allowing the County Administrator or a representative to review submitted expenses before releasing funds. The county has expressed concerns about the town’s financial record-keeping, citing insufficient responses. “There were some allegations made two or three as long as four years ago that there were some improprieties and possibly the way that some of the fire money was used. The town was a little slow in providing the requested information,” he shared.

Wagner is the first fire department in the county to outsource its fire fees. “They’ve had some personnel changes at Wagner from what I understand in the bookkeeping staff that handled that type of and moved money around the city, different funds, and you know, it may be accounting errors,” Haskell said.

An audit by accounting firm Mauldin & Jenkins will help clarify the financial situation. “The requested information is being provided by the town of Wagener. That’s kind of what’s slowing down wrapping this up,” he added.

Haskell also shared the town must make significant changes to its accounting practices and demonstrate a commitment to manage them appropriately. “How long that’s gonna take? I can’t tell you it’ll be two months or four years.”

Meanwhile, an investigation into the former Wagener fire chief, David Watson, who recently resigned amid overtime concerns, is now broadening.

The police department requested the State Law Enforcement Division to investigate the overtime claims. SLED is now requesting to conduct a full investigation into his financial records during his time at the department.

Once the investigations are complete, an arrest could be made.