A clean bill of health!
That’s what the “clean audit” of the City of Gilmer finances, done by outside accounting firm Karen Jacks and Associates, means.
The “unqualified opinion,” about as good as a governmental body can get, was presented by Ms. Jacks to the Gilmer City Council Tuesday evening.
She said that the annual report, for theFiscal Year that ended Sept. 30, 2012, required “very few adjustments” from periodic reports that had been delivered throughout the covered period (Oct. 1, 2011, to Sept. 30, 2012).
The Fund Balance of the General Fund at the end of the Fiscal Year totalled about $341,000, an increase of $128,000 since the start of the accounting year.
She said the fund had “outperformed expectations.”
City Manager Jeff Ellington told the council that city Business Manager Gary Smith and his staff deserved “ a real pat on the back” over the good report.
“They’ve done a very good job,” he said.
He said Ms. Jacks didn’t write a “management letter” of advice to the city this year, because “she said there were only two minor things” that needed to be addressed.
Ellington told the council that when he became city manager about eight years ago, the fund balance was “about $1 million in the hole,” so the $341,000 total represents an improvement over the eight years of about $1.34 million in all.
Also, the city’s debt eight years ago was about $26 million to $27 million.
The City has paid off about $12 million in debt over that time, and transferred other debt of about $4.7 million to the Economic Development Foundation, leaving City debt of $10,245,000, an improvement of “more than I ever dreamed possible when I came here,” Ellington said.
That has contributed to the City earning an A-plus bond rating for the Water Dept., and A overall bond rating, he said.
“Karen (who has performed outside audit for about five years now) has been a pleasure to work with,” Ellington added. “The City has come a long way. Eight years ago, it was in terrible shape.”
Mayor Buck Cross said that, at one point, the City (City with an upper-case C refers to the city government) had to borrow $1 million to continue to operate.
It has since been able to pay off much debt and improve the fund balance.
The outside audit was accepted unanimously.
The council approved reimbursing the Gilmer Area Chamber of Commerce for expenses of $548 to attend a recent tourism trade show in Fort Worth.
The reimbursement will come from the hotel-motel tax the city collects, which can only be used to promote tourism.
They also formally requested that the Texas Department of Transportation place a left-turn signal at Madison St. and U.S. 271. Madison St. is the city side of the intersection with Hwy. 155 North. It already has a left-turn signal for traffic heading south on U.S. 271.
Ellington said that a citizen had talked to TxDOT about putting a left-turn signal for the northbound lanes, and they had agreed to do it if the city would request it.
The council approved a request from the Bluebonnet Literary Club to do a service project by painting the gate at the entrance to the parking lot at the Lake Gilmer boat ramp off FM 852. City Street Dept. employee Kenneth Johnson will oversee the work.