Morenci city council 1.16

Written by David Green.

There’s a lot to like in the City of Morenci’s financial picture, said auditor Philip Rubley, but for the third year in a row there’s a deficit in the general fund.

“That’s the bad news of the night,” Rubley said before giving positive reports on other aspects of the city budget.

“You reduced the budget by about $18,000 in the last two years,” he said, “so you’re headed in the right direction.”

Rubley’s audit for the year ending June 30, 2007, found a deficit of $32,776. The city will be required to submit a deficit reduction plan to the state.

Council member Keith Pennington hinted that the situation has improved in the past six months.

“This report is for our fiscal year,” he said. “It does not account for anything we’ve done since June 30.”

The deficit reduction plan should make note of changes since that time, Rubley said.

Rubley noted that 28 percent of the city’s revenue comes from state funds—a figure that varies with the economy.

“I would anticipate that number to go down,” he said. “With costs soaring and revenue decreasing, you’re going to have to really watch it carefully. These are tough times, very tough.”

Rubley was pleased with the condition of the two street funds, particularly the local street fund, the utilities fund and the internal service fund (DPW).

“All of them are in pretty good shape except the general fund,” he said. “That’s the hardest one to get revenue into.”

Rubley gave the city an “unqualified opinion,” the highest rating possible for accounting practices.

He gave council a list of nine comments for consideration, none of which were listed as significant deficiencies. One significant problem is labeled as segregation of duties.

He explained this by saying that no single individual should have control over two or more phases of a financial transaction or operation. Because of the layoff of Suzette Burk last May, the separation of duties between clerk and treasurer no longer exists.

“I’m not saying there’s a problem,” Rubley said. “There’s a potential for a problem. You’ll have to take a closer look at checks and balances.”

He added that he thinks controls are in place to avoid “material problems.”


  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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