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Linden City Council receives audit report

The Linden City Council held a joint meeting with the utility board on Feb. 6, during which Billy Cox from Aldridge Borden & Company presented the audit of Linden for the fiscal year 2017.

He first discussed the contingent liabilities with the utility board and the need for settlements, which were made. They received a grant for over $1.9 million and a loan for $792,000 on Sept. 30, 2017. The loan is at 2.4 percent for two years.

Cox said that, as a result of the transaction, “if you’ve got new debt service, you’ve got more principal and interest to be paid out than what you’re accustomed to doing.”

He suggested having a rate increase that would cover the additional principal and interest “so that our cash flow and our cash position is protected,” though it would not include everything needed to fully fund the current depreciation.

Cox said that the current deferment rate is $200,000.

During the rate analysis, Cox noted that the utility board had an estimated $100,000 expense for pension liability. He recommended prefunding the liability.

Cox also said that the utility board’s capital expenditure was $300,000 and they were “$120,000 to the good.”

For the city, the pension liability is $200,000. Cox said that Linden is in a “positive position of revenue over expenses.”

Cox said that Linden is operating with a total of approximately $900,000 in cash reserve, which he thinks is a “good position to be in.” He also said that there is about $1.3 million in expenses that is being covered by taxes.

Cox made a final note about the general fund, which has a balance of approximately $971,000. He also said that the special revenue fund and the capital project fund are at $190,000 and $300,000 respectively.

According to Cox, 16 percent of funds is spent on running the government, 31 percent on public safety, 18 percent on street maintenance and 11 percent on civic improvements and restoration.

“That basically means that we’re breaking even and serving the city in the way that they’re accustomed to being served,” he said.

There was one fine during the year, in which a car was purchased that was not bought through the bid law or an approved vendor on the state list. Cox recommended training employees to avoid this in the future.

Other items discussed by the council are:

• Mayor Charles Moore reminded the council of the ongoing handicap accessible project at Scott Park.

• Neal Jackson brought a pothole on Pool Street to the attention of the council. The mayor also brought up the railroad on Shiloh Street and its poor condition, including the train sitting on the tracks and stopping traffic on Shiloh Street and US Highway 43. City Attorney Woody Dinning Jr. will send a letter to Alabama & Gulf Coast Railway asking them to address this issue.

• Jan Cannon said that there was another noise complaint about the C&J Pool Hall. According to Cannon, the music was allegedly turned down immediately after the call was made and it came over the scanner.

• The council discussed the Marengo Academy Booster Club’s interest in doing the concessions at Scott Park next year. Margie Vice has run the concession stand for years and is currently running it. The council decided to leave Vice in place this year, and it would be addressed next year.

• Darren Glass was reappointed to the MCEDA Board for the 2018-2020 term.

• Byron Vice needed to vacate his position on the school board due to his position on the city council. The mayor said Glinda Hayes expressed interest. Neal Jackson suggested Bridget Glover. The council unanimously approved Hayes, who is also a retired school teacher.

• The mayor said that he found someone to work on the old hospital, and he is waiting on a price.

• The council decided to revoke the license of the gas station that was failing to report sales on March 5 unless the business owner settled the case in a criminal court and provided proof of compliance to the laws.

• The council entered an executive session based on good name and character, after which a city employee was placed on six months’ probation.

The Linden City Council meets at 4:30 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of each month at Linden City Hall.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, February 14 issue of the Demopolis Times.)