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.”

 

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    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.

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