Charlevoix County Road Commission discusses audit: books clean and coffers stable

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Benjamin Gohs

News Editor

Charlevoix County Road Commission officials Pat Harmon (manager) and road commission board member Keith Ogden presented their latest audit to the Charlevoix County Board of Commissioners.

According to the accounting firm Gardner, Provenzano, Thomas & Luplow, the road commission’s financial house is in order.

“During our audit we did not identify any significant deficiencies,” it stated in the audit.

The solution is for management and finance personnel to compare ending balances to expected balances, investigate differences and make the appropriate adjustments.

Also, in violation of Michigan law, the road commission did not approve the original fiscal 2011/2012 budget prior to the beginning of the fiscal year on Oct. 1, 2011.

This was caused by the change in fiscal year end from Dec. 31 to Sept. 30.

It was recommended that the road commission begin the budgeting process in the preceding fiscal year that provides sufficient time to prepare and adopt the subsequent year’s budget on time.

Corrective action was taken and no similar finding was discovered in the 2012/2013 audit.

“In spite of our limited resources for normal operations we manage to continue an acceptable level of maintenance both summer and winter,” said Ogden, who said his staff is thin because Charlevoix County has the lowest paid employees in the area.

The road commission has lost three employees to better paying jobs.

Ogden said the road commission kept up with last winter’s above average snowfall but that it cost an extra half-million dollars to do so.

This year the bulk of the county’s equipment fund will be used to buy two tandem snowplow trucks at a cost of nearly a half-million dollars. This is the first large truck purchase of theirs in five years.

Ogden said the state’s previously promised $144 million in road improvement projects has been divided so that Charlevoix County will receive $237,000 in four payments throughout the year.

“This is down from the million-and-a-half we expected to get,” said Ogden. “So, in fact, if we have another winter similar to last, that money’s going to be eaten up and then some by winter maintenance.”

Ogden said the county’s salt prices have increased between 25 and 30 percent at a cost of $50,000 to $70,000 for this year.

According to the audit, the road commission is confident that the $3,090,599 fund balance will provide sufficient working capital to support future operations.

The road commission’s annual pension cost as of Sept. 30, 2013, was $195,588. Its actual contribution for 2013 totaled $229,470.

According to the auditor’s report, the road commission’s net position increased by three percent or $1,138,987.

The following shows the road commission’s financial situation:

Assets

General Fund – $4,538,190 (2013) compared to $3,393,675 (2012)

Total liabilities – $1,481,116 (2013) compared to $1,300,491 (2012

Total net position – $34,388,557 (2013) compared to $33,249,570 (2012)

Revenue

Total revenue – $6,911,233 (2013) compared to $10,500,942 (2012)

Expenses

Primary maintenance – $978,704 (2013) compared to $795,402 (2012)

Local maintenance – $1,452,376 (2013) compared to $1,461,524 (2012)

Trunkline maintenance – $465,774 (2013) compared to $502,389 (2012)

Administrative – $451,011 (2013) compared to $408,246 (2012)

Other – $0.00 (2013) compared to $4,175 (2012)

Depreciation – $2,424,381 (2013) compared to $1,950,923 (2012)

Total expenses – $5,772,246 (2013) compared to $5,122,659 (2012)