City council reviews annual audit report

ISHPEMING — The Ishpeming City Council held a special meeting Wednesday morning.

“I think that overall, the report is good news for the community,” said Ishpeming City Manager Mark Slown. “The city’s finances are getting in better shape than they were. It’s not a short-term thing, it’s a long-term process.”

A big item on the agenda of the meeting was the 2014 annual audit report. Much of the report was positive, with a slow and steady increase in fund balances showing a city with improving financial health.

Auditors did point out some deficiencies that the city hopes to address in the coming year. The first involved the separation of duties within the city’s small accounting staff.

“We don’t have all the checks and balances that we would like to have, and this is mainly because there’s three people needed to meet all the checks and balances, but we only really have two working on it,” said City Manager Mark Slown. “I’m in the process of hiring a part-time person to help with that.”

The city is also working to implement an automated direct deposit system for employees by the end of the year. Additionally, auditors pointed out that the city was over budget on some projects in 2014.

“Really, there’s no excuse for that,” Slown added. “We’re not going to let that happen in the future.”

Councilpersons were reminded about changes to the Government Accountability Standards Board rules that will affect the way the approximately $7 million of the city’s unfunded pension liabilities will be reported in 2015.

“The city’s not in any danger from this situation, as long as we continue to address it,” said Slown.

Slown added that the city has never fallen short on paying the minimum annual required contribution to these pension funds. The council discussed contributing funds beyond that minimum in future payments.

Also at the meeting, the council decided to allow AMCAB director and city volunteer Amy Lerlie to write an application on the city’s behalf for a federal grant that could help with food education and nutrition for youth.