Error in books causes headaches

Audit undercovers violations by Marion, but no money is missing

Managing editor

Auditors have found bookkeeping errors that caused the City of Marion to have budget violations, but no money is missing.

Invoices totaling $160,000 received in December 2009 were posted in January, and money to pay them was taken from the 2010 budget. The money should have been taken from the 2009 budget or the 2009 funds should have been encumbered by the council.

In a work session Monday evening, City Clerk Alan Meisinger told Marion City Council to be cautious in planning next year’s budget.

“We are coming off an audit report with three or four violations,” he said. “My advice is to be very conservative and be very careful.”

City Administrator David Mayfield said: “We need to go through this budget, line item by line item, and figure it out. The general fund is the one we need to be most concerned about.”

Because it was a work session, no decisions were made.

Changes in rec program?

Three members of Marion Recreation Commission expressed concerns for any cuts the city might make in funding recreation programs.

Rodney Richmond said the rec commission was told by Councilman Steve Smith and Mayfield to raise fees to cover expenses.

“We did this year,” Richmond said.

Currently, rec pays the salaries of director Margo Yates and maintenance supervisor Terry Edwards, who also supervises the field while games are being played.

The city provides $19,889 a year to the recreation program, which also receives a $17,000 tax appropriation.

The remainder of money comes from programs and fundraisers.

Mayor Mary Olson said she was concerned about the lack of maintenance of the field. She asked who was responsible for that.

City employees oversee long-term maintenance of the facility. Mayfield said the budget workshop wasn’t the time to discuss maintenance.

“Do you want to add more to the baseball complex budget?” Mayfield asked.

“Something needs to be done,” Olson said.

Mayfield said he disagreed and thought the complex was well maintained.

Smith said the council needed to look at the entire budget before determining any changes.

“We don’t want to cut anything from the facility,” he said.

Smith continued his concern was the city not having control of the facility.

“We don’t receive any revenue from this,” he said. “We do this for the community. It’s a good investment, but we need to have control.”

Funding for rec program has been reduced over the years; at one time it was $42,000 per year, Richmond said.

“We have taken budget cuts over the years even with increases,” he said.

Can the city generate revenue from the complex to cover expenses?

“We relinquished this to the school district (for $2,000 per year) and it’s not working well,” Smith said. “Maybe we need to restructure this.”

 

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