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.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
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • 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.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • 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.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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