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Auditors find $71,000 more in city budget

February 01, 2012 - City officials were happy to see an extra $71,508 added to the general fund, making a total of $219,134.

"Every year that figure will either increase or decrease," said City Manager Dennis Ritter. "Fortunately, it's been increasing ever since I've been here."

The general fund, which represents 31 percent of the overall budget brought in total revenues of approximately $829,000. Of that revenue 71 percent was from property taxes, and nine percent was from state shared revenues. The total expenditures for the year were $698,000. Of the expenditures 48 percent was for public safety, 10 percent was for public works, and 31 percent was for general government.

The increase to the general fund can be attributed to not having a city police department anymore, noted Ritter.

"If we did (have our city police department) that $71,500 would require approximately an additional $250,000 to keep our own budget," he said. "We'd be in a pretty significant deficit, which is what we projected anyways (if we kept the city police)."

Ritter said the city runs a "pretty skinny operation" and that there have been no major purchases other than a new lawnmower since he's been the city manager. Overall Ritter says he's "comfortable with the audit," however there is a couple items that need to be addressed, such as the city's investment investment policy.

"Ours (investment policy) is a real old one, the laws have changed, the public act has changed and it's been updated," he said. "The way it's written now is a bank really isn't able to accept public funds unless they have a copy of that policy and they have to sign for it."

Ritter noted that he is almost done with the updated policy.

The other item that needs to be addressed is a procedures manual of what the city would do in the event anyone of the "major principles" (city manager, clerk, treasurer) would be gone for some reason, especially as it relates to the treasurer's function. Ritter said the city is currently working on that.

Councilman Richard Bisio hopes there will be some follow up as it relates to the investment policy and the procedure's manual. He also noted the audit showed that the city violated the "uniform budgeting and accounting act by spending more in some categories than was appropriated."

"That is a recurrent problem that our staff is not sensitive to," he said. "It also shows that there needed to be a significant number of journal entries to reclassify certain items at the end of the year. The need to do this is caused by erroneous entries by the treasurer(s) during the course of the year."

The next regular city council meeting is Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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