The Akeley council received a clean, unmodified audit opinion on the city’s accounting at their special zoom meeting Monday night.
“The most important part of the audit is the opinion we give on the financial statement,” auditor Susan Schiessl said. “There has been a big improvement with some of the issues the city has had in the past two or three years.”
Schiessl said City Clerk Kristi Kath “is doing a great job. She has very clean records and is very conscientious. If she has any questions she gets ahold of me. We’re very happy working with her and I’m sure you’re seeing that as well.”
“I’d like to thank Kristi for all of the hard work she did to get us to where we are now,” council member Billy Krotzer said.
The city’s financial statement includes the general fund and proprietary enterprise funds for water, sewer, the municipal liquor store and parks.
The balances in these enterprise funds are as follows: water $199,431, sewer $308,866, liquor $140,999 and parks $39,921.
These funds, combined with the city’s general fund balance of $249,330 and non-governmental funds of $16,912, show the city ended 2019 with a total balance of $917,000.
Schiessl said the city is in a good position, especially with concerns about how COVID-19 will affect property tax revenue in the coming months.
“I know there have been questions over the years about the liquor operations,” Schiessl said. “If we look at liquor on a regulatory basis of cash in and cash out for the year, we were up $48,473.”
That amount reflects the facility’s profit in 2019.
Schiessl said insufficient-fund checks are an ongoing problem at the liquor store. “We really encourage the city to write a policy on this and make sure it is being followed,” she said. She suggested not allowing customers to write checks to buy pull tabs, as well as setting a policy for getting deposits in a timely manner. They are also not allowed to sponsor a pool league as has been done in the past. Mayor Brian Hitchcock said that was from the previous year and is no longer happening.
“There is better communication now between the Muni and the city hall,” he said.
“I like the way the audit came out,” council member Dan Riggs said. “It was a lot better than previous years.”
Hitchcock thanked the auditor and office staff for all of the work of sending documents back and forth, with no face-to-face contact allowed due to COVID-19.