By Rosemary K. Otzman
At the Feb. 3 regular city council meeting representatives of Plante Moran presented the financial audit of the City of Belleville for the year ended June 30, 2013.
And, they said, the audit by Alan C. Young & Associates had no management letter attached because there were no deficiencies or suggestions for improvements.
Plante Moran does the financial work for the city, which has about a $2.2 million general fund.
The audit showed the City of Belleville is on sound financial footing, which, they said, couldn’t be said five years earlier.
The short-term financial indicators are good, said Brian Camiller, CPA and Senior Manager of Plante Moran, but the pensions are just 60% funded and, “What you would like to do is address those liabilities.”
He said the water/sewer budget needs long-term planning for needs that should be put into the rates.
Camiller said the city should consider preparing a one-year budget, plus a looser budget for a second year and a five-year financial forecast.
Kelly Howey, the Plante Moran consultant that replaced Molly Goike as Belleville’s financial officer, said the budget process in the city will begin at the end of February. The new BS&A program team is currently training employees in that new system.
The Plante Moran team pointed out other post-employment liabilities of several million. They said the city should note the unfunded liabilities and predict capital costs and improvements to find out what it will need in the future and then set money aside.
“It’s great to get a positive audit report,” said Mayor Kerreen Conley, “even though we don’t have $8 million in the bank like Van Buren Township does.”
The city does have positive fund balances in each of its funds, with a general fund balance of $682,769, which is 33% of its general fund. State guidelines suggest 17%.
In other business at the 45-minute meeting, the council:
• Unanimously approved having Belleville Fire Chief Brian Loranger sign a Fire Intergovernmental Agreement with Van Buren Township, as presented by VBT Fire Chief Dan Besson. The city agrees to automatically send a fire engine with at least 750 gallons of water to VBT when a working fire erupts at Mobile Manor, 600 Sumpter Road, or Van Buren Estates, 17100 Lohr Road, where fire hydrants are only outside the mobile home parks. In exchange, VBT agrees to automatically send its 75’ aerial ladder truck to working fires at all commercial and high-rise residential structures in the city. VBT and Sumpter Township recently signed a similar agreement. Chief Besson said the fire departments cooperated in the past, but this puts the immediate cooperation in writing which makes all involved more eligible for governmental grants;
• Approved $70,982.66 in accounts payable and the following departmental purchases in excess of $500: to BS&A Software, $772, to support the building department; to David Brown Funeral Home, $4,102 for storm damage to monument from cemetery budget; to Hennessey Engineers, $8,260 for S-2 Grant work, from water budget; to Morton Salt, $4,343,53 for road salt from Major/Local street funds; to RICOH, $3,070.12 for copier agreement and $515.17 for copies; and to SLC, $547.72, for parts, from water budget;
• Learned three items will be on the Feb. 18 agenda: Amending Fee Schedule, Review of Snow Removal Ordinance, and Fire Practice/Training Wages. On the March 3 agenda, the council will review and amend the Animal Control Ordinance;
• Heard Councilman Tom Fielder give a report on Western Wayne County Juvenile Justice and how it appears the prosecutor’s office is not following through on juveniles arrested by police. He said the plan is to take this up at the next meeting of the police chiefs group;
• Heard resident Ken Voigt commend the work of city employee Marilyn Sayo who contacted him in Florida when water use on one of his properties spiked to 1,600 gallons after the first big freeze. (It turned out to be a frozen water line that burst.) City Manager Diana Kollmeyer said the new meters monitor the use and kicks out an alert when use is more than it should be;
• Heard Councilwoman Kim Tindall announce that the Council of Western Wayne has appointed Belleville Mayor Conley as its treasurer; and
• Heard the Independent ask what they are going to do about replacing Director of Public Services Keith Boc when he retires on his 50th birthday, Feb. 28. Mayor Conley said she and City Manager Kollmeyer have been working on that and will announce a plan and then post the position.
By Rosemary K. Otzman