By PAUL SIMS
A recent audit of the cityâ€™s books revealed no major findings, with the mayor saying the report shows the cityâ€™s â€śfinancial house is in order.â€ť
The Board of Aldermen accepted the independent report from Watkins, Ward and Stafford by consent Tuesday night.
â€śThe important thing we look for is an unqualified audit that they tell us our financial house is in order and in this case those two things occurred,â€ť Mayor Parker Wiseman said Wednesday. The â€śunqualifiedâ€ť designation means if there are â€śmajor concerns they would have qualified their overall opinion,â€ť he said.
Ward 2 Alderman Sandra Sistrunk said the cityâ€™s â€śending fund balance is a snapshot of our performance in a point in time,â€ť with this being Sept. 30.
The general fund had $19.26 million in revenues, and $18.56 million in expenditures, the report shows. The city shows a general fund balance increase of $762,057 over the previous year.
â€śPart of that is committed for specific projects but part of it is to solidify our long-term financial position as a city,â€ť she said.
On Tuesday, the board agreed to allow city officials to proceed with a deal with Diversified Lenders Inc. for the purchase of Incode Software from Tyler Technologies for the City Clerkâ€™s office at a monthly rate of $3,748.33 over three years for a total of $134,940.88, subject to approval by City Attorney Chris Latimer. City Clerk Markeeta Outlaw said this move will replace 15-year-old software and handle such functions as budgeting, accounts payable, payroll and accounts receivable.
One of the audit reportâ€™s six findings regarded accounts payable and payroll liability not reconciling to subsidiary ledgers.
â€śWeâ€™re having to do some of those things manually. The new software will allow us to replace a manual process with technology,â€ť Sistrunk said.
Four findings had to do with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, Sistrunk said. â€śSome of those will be addressed by the new software,â€ť she said.
Another finding related to management asked auditors to draft the financial statements.
â€śThatâ€™s not uncommon,â€ť Sistrunk said, noting this is really a disclosure on the accountantâ€™s behalf.
In other matters Tuesday, the board:
u Approved the preliminary plat for the High Cotton development, a four-unit project on a 0.26-acre lot on Russell Street. The cityâ€™s Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of the plat on April 12. In March, the cityâ€™s Board of Adjustment and Appeals gave the project a density variance because it exceeded the cityâ€™s 15 unit-per-acre guideline by 0.38.
u Agreed to a ratification and joinder to add AA Starkville LLC to a plat on a piece of property where it had not been previously listed as an owner along with Starkville 12. The move gives city officials the ability to sign the plat with all the owners on the document, Latimer said.
u Received a copy of the cityâ€™s Healthy Hometown application. The document outlines the communityâ€™s effort to be the stateâ€™s healthiest community. The designation is part of an effort through the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi. According to a website on Healthy Hometown, a municipality from three size categories will receive grants of $25,000. The community reaching the top designation will obtain a $50,000 grant. The recipients will be those who â€śhave made the most strides in creating a healthy community and who have demonstrated the highest level of commitment to a healthy culture,â€ť the website reads. The foundation will select the winners and announce them at the Summer Mississippi Municipal League Conference June 27-30 in Biloxi.
u Heard that officials will hold an event to celebrate work related to addressing storm water issues at the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum Tuesday from 7-10 p.m. Kasia Gallo, a museum representative and an instructor in Landscape Architecture at Mississippi State University, said the work not only solves the museumâ€™s problems, it also serves as a regional showcase for sustainable storm water solutions. During Tuesdayâ€™s event, a showing of the movie â€śNight at the Museumâ€ť is scheduled.
u Accepted a contract with Waste Management of Mississippi for the company to conduct recycling services for the city at a price of $750 per haul.
u Listened as Wiseman announced the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies has accepted the Police Departmentâ€™s state credentials in a bid to achieve national accreditation. â€śThis is an important step,â€ť Wiseman said.