Chief Financial Officer Jan Neufeld gave the December 2015 financial report for both the city of Altus and the Altus Municipal Authority at the Tuesday meetings held in council chambers.
Cash investments summary December bank totals were reported as being $27,090,781.71.
Under expense reports, Councilman Rick Henry commented on the expenditure summary under the administrative services category. The current budget is $ 847,783.75, which is over 108,695.19. This is 61.33% of their budget, “They seem to be running out of money pretty quickly,” said Henry. Neufeld responded that this amount included the whole entire department, the city manager, assistant city manager, council city contingencies.
Neufeld and staff are working on a financial retreat to possibly be held in March at the Altus Public Library. The mayor and council requested that an email be sent out with possible dates and times before they decide. Neufeld said the retreat would consist of reviewing the budget guidelines and go over questions and concerns they may have before voting on the budget.
Neufeld also expressed a concern when she began to review the revenue and expense report numbers for December. “We were spending more than what was actually coming in,” said Neufeld, “but what we don’t see is that we are purchasing through the 2 million loan, which isn’t visible in this report. The reports go through the third party trustee and not through our bank account, therefore you don’t see the funds until the end of the year.” At the Feb. 16 council meeting the council will receive a financial overview on the MAPS fire station, and senior center projects.
In the review of the sales and use tax monthly comparison report, the sales tax was $ 4,791,101.33, use tax was $206,935.70, and cigarette tax was $57,760.25, for a total $5,055,797.28.
Council returned from the executive session and tabled the vote on the negotiation update between the City of Altus and the FOP Lodge #120. In regards to the tabling of the item, Councilman Chris Riffle said, “I just received the 55 page document two hours prior to the meeting, and it was not enough time for me to read it and make a decision.”
Mayor Smiley said that he had met with the attorneys over the water treatment plant earlier in the day, and that the attorneys had a problem with City Attorney Catherine Coke being the interim city manager. After making the comment, council went into executive session for discussion on the matter and returned with only information being exchanged.
Under Mayor’s Appointments, council members Jason Winters and Rick Henry were appointed to serve as a sub-committee to conduct the inquiry into the Human Resources Department to retain outside consultants.
In other comments, councilman Henry said that he saw last week how dedicated the council was in their decision making, but I still feel the need to look at our charter system and tweak it. He also said that he felt some of the big branded people that have the time and energy available should look over the charter. “It is important, and especially because in the next year we have upcoming elections.”
Councilman Riffle echoed Henry’s point, and said we should review the first two years. “I would love to see us make it a better charter, and give a report card on it,” said Riffle.
In the Mayor’s comments it was reported that the city of Altus is researching the possibility of starting a community garden. The OSU Extension Center and the city are considering locating the garden on the south side of the reservoir. Property lines and other criteria will need to be considered.
The next regular AMA and council meetings are set for Tuesday, Feb. 2 starting at 6:30 p.m. at the City Complex.
Reach Mary O. Esparza at 580-482-1221 ext.2077