City Audit Deemed Clean; New City Hall In Service

By Sue Curry Jones

The Ava Board of Aldermen and Mayor David Norman convened on Tuesday, Jan. 26, at 5:00 p.m. for the first business session in the new City Hall on South Jefferson Street, in Ava.  Aldermen attending were Stan Lovan, Leon Harris, Burrely Loftin and Keith Jones.

First on the agenda, Jennifer Schatzer, a representative with KPM CPAs and Advisors, of Springfield, Mo. presented an overview of city finances and the firm’s assessment and overall conclusions of the audit and financial statements ending June 30, 2015.

In the audit letter, Schatzer cited the City of Ava was awarded a clean audit, as the financial statements were consistent and clear.  In the overview she noted and advocated the following points:

  • The City is not in compliance with certain bond covenants. Bond transcripts require the City to have net revenues of not less than 110% of the requirement principal and interest payments during the fiscal year. The City is $207,789 short of meeting the requirement.

However, Administrative Director Peggy Porter advised the City is close to meeting the requirement, and she had hoped to meet the standard this year.  However, this is a focus, and steps are being taken to attain the percentage breakdown in reserves.  She noted the City’s bond covenants are tied to three separate projects –– a 2003 wastewater treatment plant refinance rollover; 2009 water-line upgrade project; and in 2010, expansion of the wastewater treatment plant.

Porter commented it is possible the City may comply this year.

  • Auditors commended the City for continually reviewing budget items during the fiscal year to ensure that no deficits were budgeted. This notation included a recommendation to continue building cash reserves.
  • Auditors commended the City for developing a written plan for the administration of the Park Fund.
  • Auditors recommended the City require individuals charged with certifying grant compliance factors are trained and understand the new standards as cited by the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (OMNI Circular).

The OMNI Circular significantly changes monitoring and compliance requirements on Federal grants and funds received therein. This new standard comes from the Office of Management and Budget, and was implemented Dec. 26, 2013

  • The auditors also advised the Department of Labor is proposing to update regulations regarding the salary level required for overtime exemptions. The rule will more than double the salary threshold that determines which workers are eligible for time-and-half pay, when working more than 40 hours a week. Under the proposal, salaried workers earning less than $50,440 would have to start tracking hours more closely. Auditors anticipate the new requirement will become effective in 2016, and City officials would be wise to identify those employees who fall into that category.

Schatzer said the City is operating at a premium in all departments; but the on-going need to transfer funds is a drain on certain accounts.  Additional observations included a brief mention of programs, their purposes, expenses and revenues.

Schatzer noted the Government Accounting Standards Board  (GASB) now requires specific criteria on the reporting of pension funds.  The new rule establishes standards for measuring and identifying liabilities, for deferred inflow and outflow of resources and expenses relating to pensions, and other supplementary information.   The City adopted the GASB statement for the budget year ended June 30, 2015.

Schatzer reported city employees were easy to work with, and the audit process flowed well because financials and documentation were provided quickly and efficiently.

During closed session, council voted to rehire Jorie Garrett as pool manager of the Water Park for the ensuing summer season.  Garret also received an increase in pay.

Angela Brooke, of Ava, was hired as a new employee in City Utilities. Brooke fills a job position recently vacated.

Council discussed options for changing job descriptions and titles for two clerical positions.  Both changes are scheduled for April, and will be announced with the Mayor’s annual appointments.  The recent dismissal of a lieutenant in the Ava Police Department was reviewed and discussed.

Council unanimously approved the Municipal Court Docket dated December 12, 2015, with motions by councilmen Keith Jones and Burrely Loftin.

Mayor Norman advised the ‘old’ City Hall and utility office are being cleaned and readied for sale or auction.  City Attorney Larry Tyrrell recommended city officials attain a formal appraisal of each location before placing on the market.

Norman said Mercy Life Line Air Medical Support has visited several times requesting the City of Ava to consider their service as an option for employees.  Norman advised the information will be offered during an upcoming insurance meeting, but the option is voluntary and self-paid by the employee.

Norman noted the airport brush-clearing is nearing completion, with only a few nearby treetops needing attention.

The card reader for the airport fueling system is almost ready, but Phillips Aviation must inspect the system before the unit is available for use.

During the meeting, Norman also commended city employees for their commitment and labor to facilitate a successful transition to the new site.  He noted everyone worked hard to make it happen.

Council reconvenes on Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 5:00 p.m., and the meeting will be held at the new City Hall location.  The address is 404 South Jefferson Street, in Ava, Mo.