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Audit shows city in good financial standing

By Kelly Terpstra,

T.P. Anderson and Co. crunched the numbers.

The report that came back from the Humboldt accounting firm for fiscal year 2018 showed Charles City is in good financial standing.

Tim McCartan presented his report for T.P. Anderson at a regular City Council meeting Monday and said overall he was pleased with how the financial ledgers balanced out for Charles City.

“The city does have a very strong cash basis financial position,” said McCartan.

For the year, the city had a decrease in cash balance of $17,450. That left Charles City with a cash balance at the end of the year of $16,406,440. The governmental activities (general fund) showed a balance of $11,785,695 and business-type activities accounted for $4,620,745.

There weren’t any non-compliance areas in the financial statements, according to McCartan.

The city was subject to single-audit requirements, which means more than $750,000 of federal funds were expended. T.P Anderson audited the Section 8 housing choice vouchers program and the Foster Grandparents program.

“Once we decided those were major funds and that’s based on the dollars involved, then we do special procedures to ensure that they comply,” McCartan said.

T.P Anderson didn’t find any non-compliance in the housing choice voucher program, but did locate discrepancies with respect to matching funds in the Foster Grandparents.

“Basically when the Foster Grandparent Program submits its reporting to the national level, they do their oversight process. At that point it was determined that some indirect costs were higher in proportion to the direct expenses in the program. Therefore there was a potential payback,” said McCartan.

The amount in question was $27,750 of federal funding which the program overspent on administrative costs.

“We feel like that’s something that can be tracked on an ongoing basis so that this wouldn’t happen in the future,” said McCartan. “Hopefully the whole situation with the national level will be addressed through the appeal process.”

Charles City’s outstanding general obligation debt at year end was $4,141,900 or 1.8 percent. That’s well below the constitutional debt limit of approximately $19 million or 5 percent of the assessed value of all taxable property within the city’s corporate limits.

“We do see a lot of cities that push that 5 percent a lot — a lot more so than you are here in Charles City, so you’re in very good shape,” said McCartan. “It looks like you’re doing things right here in Charles City and we do appreciate the opportunity to work with you.”

The 2018 fiscal year ended June 30, 2018.

Other action taken at Monday’s meeting dealt with construction of the new Floyd County law enforcement center.

To make room for construction of that building, the council approved the first reading to vacate the South Jackson Street right-of-way between Gilbert and Court streets. This is in conjunction with property at 101 and 111 South Jackson Street, for which the first reading was also approved to rezone those areas from multi-family residence district to service business district.

The Wayfinding Project preliminary plans and specifications were approved for 2019. January 31 was set as the bid date. A hearing for the final plans is scheduled for Feb. 4.

The Wayfinding Project is a plan to place signs around town that is estimated to cost $225,000, according to City Engineer John Fallis. Signs include gateway welcome signs, vehicular guide, parking lot identification and information kiosks signs.

In 2017, the city retained the Corbin Group to develop a wayfinding plan. Bids were sent out but only one was received. That bid was higher than anticipated and rejected.

The council also approved the third reading and adopted an ordinance rezoning the 500 North Grand property (the former middle school) to a multi-family residence district. This ordinance was approved in anticipation of the Charles City Community School District selling the building to be remodeled at least in part for apartment units.

The council also went into closed session to continue to talk about the purchase of property. According to City Administrator Steve Diers, the council came out of the closed session and made a motion to continue negotiations on two properties. The council also went into closed session at its last meeting on Dec. 17 to discuss the property, but like Monday, no action was taken when the council returned to open session.