2011 audit approved by the Motley City Council

By Tina Snell, Staff Writer

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There were no surprises when Mary Backlund from Gary W. Paulson Certified Public Accounts in Little Falls presented Motley’s 2011 audit to the City Council Tuesday. Members voted unanimously to accept its findings.

In the general fund, the Council learned they received $143,340 in taxes during 2011, a 29.2 percent decrease from 2010, but only $369 less than expected.

Local government aid decreased $1,096 from 2010, a 1.5 percent change.

In total, receipts to the city in 2011 were $57,589 less than in 2010, a 14.2 percent decrease.

Disbursements from General Government in 2010 were $149,561 and in 2011, $137,601, an 8 percent decrease. Much of that decrease is due to city hall being paid off.

In Public Safety, disbursements in 2010 were $180,967. In 2011, that number dropped to $130,933, a decrease of 27.6 percent. Backlund said this was due to less being spent on police protection and the determination to buy the police vehicle instead of continue the lease.

The Streets and Highway Department increased its expenditures by 5.7 percent, from $150,726 to $159,336.

Total disbursements in the General Fund were $505,978 in 2010 and $435,142 in 2011, a 14 percent decrease.

The General Fund has a cash balance of $521,995.

The Fire Department’s receipts in 2010 were $125,406 and in 2011, were $119,543, a 4.7 percent decrease. Its expenditures also dropped, from $97,739 in 2010 to $74,894 in 2010, a 3.9 percent decrease. The Fire Department has a cash fund balance of $167,694.

The Street Improvement Fund had receipts of $70,080 in 2010 and $115,911 in 2011, a 65.2 percent increase. But, the city budgeted receipts for 2011 at $124,120, so it took in just over $8,000 less than expected.

As in years before, three items stood out in the audit.

The city needs to have good internal controls to achieve proper conduct of business. The same person who reconciles the back statements should not be the same person who writes the checks, makes deposits or posts to journals and ledgers. The city of Motley is aware of the issue and will review monthly transactions.

The city of Motley should be preparing its own financial statements to be audited, but at its request, Gary Paulson does the preparation. It has been established that hiring staff to prepare the statements is not cost effective for the city.

General journal entries are prepared and recorded by the clerk-treasurer without management approval and management relies on his/her knowledge to record transactions. The city will investigate a method to obtain approval of journal entries by a member of the Council.

Motley City Council briefs

Other business conducted by the Motley City Council Tuesday night included:

• Approving the fifth payment to Kuechle Underground for work done in 2011, in the amount of $82,983.71 which included the $22,062.19 the city agreed to pay for all additional work done and $60,921.52 of the retainage released. The city will continue to hold $23,000 in retainage;

• Voting to accept the feasibility study and the proposal for the design from Widseth Smith Nolting Engineers for the 2012 street project. The engineers fee will not exceed $57,500;

• Passing Resolution 2012-5 which states the Council had a hearing on the 2012 Improvement Project and deems the project necessary, cost-effective and feasible;

• Setting a joint meeting with both the Planning and Zoning Commission and the City Council for Tuesday, April 17, at 6 p.m. to establish what the commission’s duties are;

• Discussing the three radios and 15 pagers that belong to the Fire Department which are out of date. The consensus was to put them on MNBid to see if another entity would want them;

• Voting on a directive to have all city departments shop equally at all businesses in town;

• Allowing Police Chief Brian Madison to attend a police chief’s conference in St. Cloud at a cost of $325;

• Insisting on an interview with a possible police intern before allowing him to ride with the officers;

• Learning there are issues with snowmobilers who mostly live in town and are tearing up the new blacktop streets with their studs and carbide runners. Madison would like to see snowmobilers banned from city limits unless on the trails, and Councilmen Bruce Mills and Duane Solga said they did not want to hurt the local businesses by banning sleds from town. A committee was established with Madison, Mills and Solga to look into an ordinance concerning snowmobiles and ATVs;

• Set a meeting with the Council and the Parks Committee for March 20, at 6 p.m. at City Hall to make sure both entities are on the same page;

• Voting to accept a five-year contract with Waste Management with increases not to exceed 3 percent a year;

• Accepting Resolutions 2012-6 and 2012-7 which establishes the voting precinct boundaries of the city of Motley. Residents of Morrison County will vote at City Hall and residents of Cass County will vote by mail; and

• Learning Clean Up day will be Saturday, May 12, from 7:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

The next city council meeting will be held at the Motley City Hall Tuesday, April 10, at 7 p.m.