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.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • 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.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.

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