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City Council hears audit, passes budget

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By Linda Ireland

Hodgenville City Council heard a belated auditor’s report Monday for year ending June 30, 2012.

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Susan C. Mouser, a certified public accountant with Clauson, Mouser & Co., apologized for the delay, saying her company had encountered staffing problems during the time when 30-or-so government audits had been due.

“My goal next year is to have (financials) out by Jan. 31,” she said.

The audit was conducted in a “better manner” this year than in the past, she added, calling it an “involved process” that required a lot of communication with city staff.

Financial highlights of the audit include:

  • Ending cash balance of $2.77 million – a decrease in cash during the year of $75,000
  • End of year capital assets totaled $14.57 million – this represents a net increase of $47,000, primarily associated with the Hamilton Acres Sewer Project
  • Long-term debt amounted to $3.06 million in capital leases, revenue bonds and notes payable, compared to $3.44 million on June 30, 2011. That is a net decrease of $380,000.
  • The city received $198,828 in property taxes; $264,903 insurance premium taxes; $307,542 occupational taxes; and $26,813 licenses and permits.
  • Expenditures included $427,384 for police; $10,640 for fire; and $320,974 general government.
  • Water and wastewater fees brought in $1,196,748; and $51,244 for other charges.
  • Long-term debt includes $220,000 to refinance a pumper truck (2010), balance owed $150,000; $120,000 to renovate city pool (2007); $77,352 owed.

Mouser found no deficiencies in internal control over financial reporting.

After the auditor’s report, the council had second reading of a $1,234,950 million budget ordinance for fiscal year ending June 30, 2014.

There was some controversy before the ordinance was accepted. Councilwoman Glenda Wathen had made the motion to accept, followed by a second by councilman James Phelps.

Before the matter could be voted on, councilman Alex LaRue made a motion to amend the original motion. LaRue wanted 10 percent of total revenues set aside in a contingency fund.

(LaRue said, after the meeting, his motion was classified as a subsidiary motion to “modify, defer, remove or dispose of the main motion. Subsidiary motions take precedence over main motions; they must be handled first, according to the “Simple Parliamentary Procedure” booklet available through the Cooperative Extension Service.)

After some disagreement among the members about parliamentary procedure, the council voted to defeat the original budget ordinance.

LaRue again asked for an emergency fund to be listed in the formal budget.

The “contingency” motion was then voted down after a tiebreaker vote by Mayor Terry Cruse.
Bonni Clark, LaRue and Phelps voted “yes” on LaRue’s motion; Kenny DeVore, Woodie Handley and Glenda Wathen voted “no.”

Mayor Cruse, who votes only in case of a tie, voted “no.”

The council then returned to the original ordinance to approve a budget. Clark and LaRue voted against it.

The ordinance will take effect after publication in The LaRue County Herald News.

Councilman LaRue requested the “municipal order” he had proposed in April be “carried over to next month.” LaRue is seeking more detailed financial information about the city through the ordinance.

Last month, the Council could not agree on a time for a work session to discuss the order.

Monday, after a suggestion by Mayor Cruse, the Council decided to meet one hour before its July 8 meeting for the work session. The work session would be open to the public but council members could not vote on anything discussed at the session. (Editor’s note: The Council will meet at 5:30 p.m. due to a Red Hill Cemetery Commission meeting at 6:30 p.m., followed by the Council meeting at 7 p.m.)

In other business:

  • Mayor Cruse announced the opening date of the LaRue County Park and Recreation swimming pool has been pushed back to June 15 and possibly as late as June 30. The Park and Rec board ran into some problems finding lifeguards – and the walls of the pool needed sandblasting.

There is a possibility of keeping the pool open on weekends through Labor Day after school resumes in August. Mayor Cruse said the City could pay staff to keep it open. The City also is helping pay for lifeguard training.

  • Mayor Cruse said sewer repairs should be complete within a month. He described the liner being used in the pipes: it has a minimum 50-year lifespan and lessens the expense and mess associated with digging up sewer lines.

He said a 60-foot line would be added in Forresta Court, “where it left off last time.”

  • Police Chief Steve Johnson said all squad cars are now equipped with videocameras and officers have “body mikes” to record traffic stops.

Chief Johnson said last month’s “Click It or Ticket” program netted three DUIs, five seatbelt citations, one felony arrest, three fugitives apprehended, two driving on suspended licenses, four no insurance, three speeding tickets, seven drug arrests or citations, four reckless drivers and five “other traffic.”

  • Fire Chief Wally Sparks reported three runs in May: A lift assist, a “wash down” on Greensburg Street after a mud run was held at LaRue County Fairgrounds, and a controlled burn.