Rachael Van Horn
Woodward, Okla. —
The City of Woodward received a clean bill of financial health Tuesday night during the normally scheduled monthly meeting.
The opinion came from outside auditing company, RSMeacham CPAs and Advisors of Clinton.
In her remarks, RSMeacham CPA and spokesman Cristy Jones said the health of the accounting systems and financial wellness of the city were tested in numerous ways throughout the audit.
She attributed the positive results of the audit to a robust and active city finance department as well as a healthy and growing economy here.
According to the audit, the city's assets total more than $86 million with a net of $54 million in assets after its liabilities are taken into account.
Even while much of that net $54 million - about $42 million - are funds that are encumbered by capital assets such as projects and investments, this year's audit still shows more than $10 million in unrestricted net assets.
That means, Jones said, that $10 million are funds that the city has available to help run the government.
"You all had a 10 percent increase in sales tax collection and we don't see that very often with other cities," she said.
All three areas of the audit, the overall financial statement, Internal monitoring, and governmental compliance, were satisfactory, she said.
When commissioners asked Jones if she had any recommendations, she encouraged the staff to continue their work learning the new inventory program installed this year.
"We performed several tests on inventory, tracking the inventory from when it was ordered, all the way through the system to when the item was used and we did not find anything of concern," she said.
Nevertheless, she said, inventory is an area of challenge where there could be some improvement.
Jones also recommended the city begin to increase its rates the city charges customers for water, sewer and sanitation.
According to City Manager, Alan Riffel, this is because the city spent nearly $180,000 in tax revenue to make up for revenue shortfalls in water, sewer and sanitation departments.
According to Jones, the best practice for city governments is for their utility departments to operate as any business and be self supporting.
Woodward Mayor Gary Goetzinger agreed, adding that if those funds were not being used to support the utility departments, they could go to improve roads and other needed maintenance in the city.
According to Riffel, the plan is to do a rate study to determine what the best course of action would be to increase the rate but still provide affordable services for Woodward citizens.
In other business, city commissioners approved a final agreement of terms between FAA Compliance Manager Ed Chambers and the City of Woodward regarding a list of compliance issues brought before the board about a year ago.
Commissioners approved the following resolutions to the compliance issues as well as the budget amendment transfers equalling $178,629 Tuesday night;
• the transfer of $20,115 to the airport's account to settle a dispute over several thousand tons of asphalt taken from a stockpile at the airport. It is agreed between the FAA and City of Woodward Commissioners that the money will be available for use toward maintenance and operations at the airport; and
• The transfer of $158,514 to the airport account as the current fair market value of former airport properties that were previously released to the city, but for which the FAA contends the city did not properly reimburse the airport for. Some of the agreements dated as far back as 1970. This money will be dedicated for Capitol Improvement Plan (CIP) projects at the airport.
City commissioners also adopted a contract form that would establish 25 year lease agreements with those who would like to build hangers at the airport for the storage of their airplanes to do so on the government owned property. The contract requires the builder to issue a $20,000 forward payment to the City, which the builder will get back once the construction is completed.
The $20,000 down payment on the agreement offsets the City's initial investment in the construction of needed aprons that access the hangers and insures that the project gets completed, said Assistant City Manager Doug Haines.
City commissioners renewed the professional agreement with Accurate Environmental Services which monitors the city's drinking water and wastewater treatment systems in exchange for a $2,000 monthly retainer fee.
Commissioners also renewed the contract for economic development services with the Woodward Chamber of Commerce, in which the city pays the Chamber an $80,000 annual fee in monthly installments in exchange for the Chamber helping to promote new and expanded retail business in the city.