The city’s financial outlook continues to be positive after receiving its unmodified or clean annual audit report at the Monday city council meeting.
The audit was performed by Heidi Chick of Williams Keepers LLC — Certified Public Accountants of Columbia, along with the city’s audit manager Amanda Schultz CPA. City leaders also were able to learn more about the work of the Mexico School District No. 59 school reconfiguration implementation plan.
Chick is WK’s lead partner on governmental audits, and Schultz worked with Kristen Brown, who was not able to attend Monday’s meetings, on a majority of the audit work. Brown performed the day-to-day work.
“We do a lot of governmental auditing,” Chick said. “We have a niche team that work on a lot of audits, so they bring a lot of experience. … The governmental niche team is one of our big niche teams at WK.”
The council received both a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, prepared by Assistant City Manager Roger Haynes and Mexico Financial Analyst/Accountant Vicki Duenke, and an Auditor Communication Letter. The report is the city’s complete financial picture and is available on the city’s website. The letter is a rundown of WK’s opinion of the city’s financial statements, included in the financial report.
The city did not have to do an audit this year, based on the generally accepted governmental auditing standards, because it received less than $750,000 in the past year in federal awards. The audit report is done under the generally accepted auditing standards instead, in which auditors provide an opinion on financial statements and provide communication to the mayor and city council.
Chick said that the city releasing a comprehensive financial report goes above the generally accepted standards. “It’s a sign of excellence in reporting, and I think that reflects really positively on the city,” she said.
The comprehensive report includes 10 years of trending financial data on city revenue and expenses. Accounting standards required include basic financial statements, Chick said. This breaks further down into the independent auditors’ report, city management discussion and analysis, government-wide statements, fund financial statements, notes on financial statements, required supplementary information, such as budgetary comparisons and other supplementary information, such as financial schedule combinations.
“There’s two complete sets of financial statements. There’s government-wide statements and that’s where everything is put together,” Chick said. “All your assets are recorded, all your liabilities are recorded. Everything is accrual basis. … The fund financial statements are what you’re used to seeing on a monthly basis. It’s broken down by funds between the governmental and proprietary funds.”
Governmental funds come from sources like property taxes, whereas proprietary funds come from sources such as service fees.
Schultz reviewed the Auditor Communication letter. Information in the letter is required to be presented to the city council by WK in its reporting standards.
The audit looks at significant estimates, or how the city calculates its financial statements. “We found the significant estimates to be reasonable within the financial statements. The disclosures were also neutral, consistent and clear. … We didn’t have any difficulties in working with personnel this year. We also didn’t note any misstatements this year. We do assist management with (Government Accounting Standards Board) 68 entries that are required for the LAGERS pension plan,” she said.
WK also looks at city internal controls over financial statement preparation, Schultz said, but does not issue an opinion since it is related to operational practices and not financial statements. WK will note deficiencies or weaknesses in internal controls if it finds them.
“This letter is very clean. There are no deficiencies reported in the letter and certainly no material weaknesses reported,” Schultz said.
School reconfiguration report
Mexico School District Superintendent Zach Templeton was at Monday’s meeting to answer questions council members’ questions about the planned reconfiguration of its elementary schools.
The district has two goals with the reconfiguration he said — to expand the early elementary program and to make classroom sizes equitable across all elementary grade levels.
There will be some school boundary changes as well as changes in transportation. Templeton said the district right now is using the railroad tracks as a dividing line in its planning process. All students south of the railroad tracks would attend Eugene Field Elementary, while those living north would attend Hawthorne. The only certainty right now is all pre-kindergarten and kindergarten aged students will attend McMillan Elementary.
“Some students who were not eligible for transportation will become eligible for transportation. Potentially some students who were, will not be, depending on where they live,” Templeton said about possible bus route changes.
Potential effects include increased personal vehicle traffic at McMillan, he said. Release times for the Early Childhood Center are different than at McMillan, so there while there may be increased vehicle traffic at the school and center, it will be staggered based on entry and release times, Templeton said.
As with any staffing changes, Templeton said he doesn’t expect to see any real significant budget impact. Leadership at McMillan will change slightly, he said from a question from council member Chris Williams. The McMillan principal will be the administrator for both the elementary school and the attached early education center, rather than having the special education director in charge of the center.
The district has from six to eight planning committees in place to develop the implementation plan, which will be presented to the board of education in March. Each committee is looking at a different area of concern, such as transportation or school registration.
In other business:The Mexico City Council renewed agreements with Bartlett and West Inc. of Jefferson City and Klinger and Associates of Columbia to provide on-call engineering services. This is part of a 2016 agreement which included three one-year renewals. Agreed to provide funds from the tourism tax for $3,500 to Brick City Bad Boyz II for advertising relating to Cruise Nights. The original request was for $4,400. Last year the organization received $3,200 in tourism tax funds. The council also agreed to pay $695 to the Columbia Missourian for advertising purposes in its 2019 Tourism Guide. Insituform Technologies LLC of Chesterfield was the low bidder of $196,651.35 for the cast in place pipe replacement project, which includes three major portions — the pipework itself, lining brick manholes so they’re sealed and service line connections to the main coming from houses and businesses. The council accepted the bid. Agreed to provide a permanent easement to Gerald R. Allen who plans to build a one-family dwelling at the end of Green Meadow Street. Allen will build a driveway to the property in the easement. Authorized City Manager Bruce Slagle to sign an agreement for Transportation Alternatives Program funds to install Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant sidewalks along Muldrow Street from Jackson to Quisenberry Street. This is a 75/25 share between the state of Missouri and the city of Mexico. The city’s portion will cost up to $42,358.05, with $51,000 appropriated in the city’s 2018-19 budget. Approved request from the Mexico School District No. 59 to increase school zone time frame by one-half hour. The change will make active school zones from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., rather than from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., due to students arriving at schools prior to 7:30 a.m. The change will not take place until the summer and will cost $375.44 to update signs.