Upsala audit yields positive results

by Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer

 

Mary Backlund of Schlenner, Wenner presented a report of Upsala’s annual audit Monday, alleviating concerns the City Council had regarding discrepancies in fund balances which had been carried over from previous years.

The discrepancies were brought to light during the audit.

“We were concerned about a possible shortfall, but it came out $9,300 to the positive,” said Mayor Rollie Johnson. “Funds were reversed and balances were recorded in the wrong places.

“Code allocations were incorrect and they had to backtrack and transfer the funds,” said Council Member Joan Olson. “Our general fund was healthier than we thought.”

The amount of $28,309 had been borrowed from the general fund to get land prepared for a building project, Backlund reported.

Two findings of the audit are those almost always listed for small communities.

“It’s very very typical for small communities to have segregation issues, as there are not enough people to wear enough hats,” Backlund said. “All we can say is, the Council needs to be diligent. Where you can implement some sort of segregation — great.”

The limitations of the city’s financial reporting were also mentioned, which must be done when the auditor writes the report.

“We don’t have small governments write their own report,” said Backlund.

A third finding referred to material audit adjustments. A contributing factor was the fact that the city had been using software which did not allow for journal entries in recordkeeping.

“We are recommending that Adrian (Welle, city clerk-treasurer) get training,” Backlund said. “The three-year course he doing is a really good start.”

A fourth and final finding addressed prior period adjustments, necessary because of misstatements in previous years’ audit reports. A new beginning net position for the current year was restated for the report.

Backlund recommended using purchase orders, instituting a fund balance policy, using a standard form for employee expense reports, and removing the data backup file from the premises to safeguard information.

“I recommend reviewing the deputy clerk as an independent contractor,” Backlund said. “If a payroll audit goes wrong, the city is liable.”

“Our auditor did an excellent job; I can’t say enough good,” Johnson said.

“It appears the city is in good shape,” said Welle. “But we will have to look at possibly raising our water and sewer rates.”

The Council approved the audit report as presented.

Discussion was held regarding Sheri Johnson’s deputy clerk contract and requirements for insurance and bond.

The Council approved offering the deputy clerk position to Johnson as a city employee at $13.13 per hour.

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Other business to come before the Upsala City Council Monday included:

• Approving a gambling permit for the Fire Department’s annual Heritage Days raffle to be held Aug. 10. “Net raffle proceeds are usually roughly $10,000,” said Council Member Brian Lange;

• Learning that this year’s Heritage Days theme will be “1883 — Start of Upsala;”

• Tabling a decison on extending water and sewer service for southwest area improvements until July 1, pending further information;

• Approving street repairs on the uptown alley and on West Street, accepting a bid by Central Minnesota Paving for $2,300;

• Learning through the Legislative update that the city will be tax-exempt; and

• Approving the payment of bills in the amount of $11,298.57.

The next Upsala City Council meeting will be Monday, July 1 at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

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