By Naomi Hatch
Snowflake Finance Director Brian Richards reviewed the annual audit report and Comprehensive Annual Financial Report with the town council Dec. 11.
Richards explained that a new firm audited the finances, noting, “They did a more in-depth audit.” The previous auditor had served the town for 15 years.
The finance director went over the three things that needed to be corrected. One of the suggestions was to purchase software to keep more detail in capital assets, itemizing them by department, and another problem was that engineering invoices were not put into water, sewer and roads until after the auditor arrived.
“These are just accounting issues,” explained Town Manager Paul Watson, noting they paid the correct amount but it should have been broken out and allocated to the different departments.
In response to a question posed by Mayor Kelly Willis, Richards stated, “I’m happy with it (the audit) and I’m happy with the auditors.”
“Brian has done a great job of allocating our resources the best we can with what we have,” said Watson. “We’ve had a balanced budget no matter how much we’ve had to absorb the cuts and the pain. so to speak.”
In response to another question posed by Mayor Willis, Watson spoke briefly of the reserve funds, stating, “Our reserves are not as healthy as they were five years ago, but we still have reserves and we still balance our budget. We’ve had some irregular expenses.”
“We have a significant community asset, which is the paper mill, that has closed and has significant impact,” said Watson. “We’re in an effort right now to try to preserve as much of those assets, mainly the railway, and that is an unexpected expense that we’re experiencing. I would estimate that by the end of the year we may tap into those reserves a little more to help us cover the costs that are necessary.”
Watson reminded the council that the Taylor Walmart is expected to have a positive impact, and that construction may begin soon. “I will tell you that, in my opinion, that alone will have a significant positive impact in reducing the revenue loss or leakage that we currently experience and all the communities around except Show Low experience,” he said.
A motion to approve the audit report and authorize the mayor to send a letter to respond to the recommendations passed unanimously.
Councilwoman Bev Kay recognized Richards’ Achievement of Excellence in 2011, which was included in the reports.
The council was asked to approve the purchase of Caselle Clarity accounting software, which would up-grade the accounting system. Councilman Tom Poscharsky suggested that they purchase Caselle software that would be compatible with their software to better organize capital assets. Mayor Willis expressed concern re-garding the cost, but Councilmen Stuart Hensley
By Naomi Hatch