Obion’s audit report gives town high marks
Posted: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 9:08 pm
By: Kevin Bowden, Staff Reporter
By KEVIN BOWDEN
It was positive news all around at Monday night’s Obion City Council meeting.
The town’s 2010-11 audit report was good news to members of the council and it appears an ongoing controversy involving the town’s Public Works Department may be on track to being resolved.
The 53-page audit was presented to the council by the Joe M. Enoch & Associates accounting firm of Dyersburg.
Included in the detailed report was a thorough examination of the city’s finances during this past fiscal year.
Members of the council were provided copies of the audit and during the meeting they reviewed the report page-by-page. There were few questions from council members during the audit review and it appeared they were pleased with the audit.
“I think the Town of Obion operates very conservatively,” Enoch said after reviewing the audit. He praised the city’s fiscal management and agreed with council member Mike Miller in describing the audit as a “clean statement.”
Included in his report, Enoch told the council the town’s assets exceeded its liabilities at the close of the 2010-11 fiscal year by nearly $3.9 million. He said the town’s governmental funds had a combined fund balance at the end of the fiscal year of $304,583, a slight decrease compared to the previous year’s fund balance.
“At the end of the current fiscal year, unreserved fund balance for the general fund was $120,534, or 23 percent of total general fund expenditures,” the report stated in part. “The Town of Obion retired a total of $178,615 in long-term debt during the year and borrowed $191,787 for the construction of a new safety building.”
Enoch’s presentation of the audit report took up just over 20 minutes of the hour and five minute meeting Monday night. He walked the council through the entire audit and explained key areas of the report for council members.
The positive audit report comes at a critical time for city officials, who will soon be drafting a new city budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year.
Mayor Glen Parnell announced Monday night he will be appointing a budget committee at the next council meeting in early March.
In addition to the good news of the audit report, a lingering debate involving a plan to evaluate all city employees may be a step closer to being resolved.
A proposal submitted by council member Renee Webber was unanimously approved by the council and will have the council meeting again at 4 p.m. Friday with all city employees.
“This week, I have seen first-hand that for work to be done for our town’s citizens that we have to have a new approach,” Ms. Webber said. “I don’t want the committees to think that their opinions are not important to us, but we have such a breakdown in the workforce that work is being slowed down or not being done at all. I cannot figure out how anyone can be evaluated under the conditions in the department, especially public works. We have no communication going on between the head of public works and the mayor.”
Ms. Webber’s speech spotlighted an ongoing conflict between Parnell and Steffen and its impact on the Public Works Department and the city. Attempts by an ad-hoc personnel committee to evaluate Steffen and his staff have been unsuccessful and have generated even more controversy for the town.
“Therefore, I make a motion that the town board needs to meet with all town employees ASAP, that each employee be read their job description and make sure that they understand what their job is and any problems pertaining to this needs to be resolved,” Ms. Webber said.
“I support what she just got through saying,” Miller said. “I think you’re exactly on the right track.”
In other action Monday night, the council:
• Learned the bridge over Broadway Street, just north of Obion City Hall, has collapsed and the city has closed off the street in that area until the bridge can be inspected and repaired. The council agreed to have Robert Albright check the bridge and make a report on what needs to be done to repair the bridge.
• Was informed by Parnell that the city has purchased what is known as the Huey lot on Broadway Street.
• Was updated on several city projects by the mayor. He reported the city is in the process of ordering and will soon have a pair of grinders installed in the Eighth and Main street area. Parnell also said the city is working with Jere Cutler concerning a city-owned lift station on his property.
Approval was granted by the council to minor repairs needed at the city’s Safety Building — changes to the building’s water lines and the installation of an emissions control system.
• Discussed a couple of other minor issues, including how to heat the former City Hall building and plans for summer mowing in the city. Also, the council agreed to look into prices for road repair materials.
“We need to fix some holes in the roads,” Parnell said. “It’s something we need to think about.”
Cost estimates are expected to be on the agenda for the council’s next meeting.
Monday night’s meeting was opened in prayer led by Police Chief Royce Aker and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Parnell.
Published in The Messenger 2.22.11