Morenci city council audit report 11.11.09

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Despite the rough economic times in the state, Morenci city council received good news Monday night from auditor Phil Rubley.

For the second year in a row, Rubley lauded the city’s progress in moving away from the deficit situation of the past and once again posting solid financial gains.

Rubley noted that the projected fund balance was exceed by nearly $50,000.

“You’ve taken the city from a very fragile fund equity and built on it,” he said. “That’s very good. You should be proud of yourselves.”

Rubley said he would like to see a much higher cash balance. He recommends having three months of expenses available, which would require a balance of at least $250,000. The audit showed that as of June 30, the fund balance stood at $154,870.

The sale of property for a cellular communications tower brought in an unexpected influx of $65,000 to help bolster the city’s financial situation.

Rubley reviewed the various major and non-major funds and pronounced them all in good shape with the exception of the Town and Country Festival fund.

Revenue produced an excess of $7,864, but a beginning deficit of $9,046 left the fund in the red.

City administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder said that fund-raising efforts have covered the shortfall since the fiscal year ended.

Rubley said the audit led to an unqualified opinion, meaning the records were all in order and fairly presented.

“You should be commended for that,” he said. “You have a very good report and a very good financial position.”

Rubley cautioned council again this year about the “custodial risk” of investing funds that aren’t entirely insured. By placing funds in only two banks, a large amount of money exceeds the $250,000 federal insurance limit.

Banks are failing across the country, he noted, and to protect savings, council should consider moving some long-term CDs to other locations.

LEAVES—Leaf collection got underway this week, said city supervisor Barney Vanderpool. He’s been short of help and collection was delayed. After work along Main Street, DPW workers will begin collecting on the south side of town.

FIRE—Joshua Oltz was approved as a new member of the fire department and the wording was read on a plaque presented to the department from the Rohr family.

POLICE—Council approved hiring Richard Dover as a part-time police officer.

Police chief Larry Weeks told council about the availability of two Michigan State Police troopers who specialize in crime scene investigation.

Their skills will provide an extremely valuable service to Morenci and other smaller communities, the chief said.

Weeks told council that the new police cruiser is in service. The car is painted white and has new graphics that were designed by Simi Air. The vehicle cost about $18,000 through a state bidding process.

NEW ASSIGNMENTS—New mayor Keith Pennington announced the following committee assignments:

• Public Safety—Tracy Schell (chair), Joe Varga (vice chair) and Leasa Slocum.

• Public Works—Art Erbskorn (chair), Jason Cook (vice chair) and Varga.

• Finance and Legal and Economic Development—Greg Braun (chair), Slocum (vice chair) and Cook.

He named Schell as mayor pro tempore.

Robert Jennings and Brenda Spiess were appointed to fill two planning commission vacancies.

Pennington made no changes in the department heads.

He reminded the audience that the mayor leads the meetings, but other than that the position is mostly symbolic. The mayor gets one vote like all council members have.

He also pointed out that the mayor is not the head of the fire department, police department, etc., and any decisions must be made by the entire council only at a meeting that was announced in advance.

Pennington said that public comment about items on the agenda should be made at the start of the meeting. According to Robert’s Rules of Order, he said, only council members should discuss an issue while moving through the agenda.

The traditional agenda item seeking concerns and questions from the audience will remain as the final order of business before adjourning.

  • 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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