December 18, 2014

Audit report shows positive gains for Standish

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STANDISH — In an audit report given to the Standish City Council, the city has made positive gains in a number of areas including the city water fund.

The report given at a city council meeting held on Nov. 18, David Youngstrom, a partner at Yeo & Yeo in Saginaw said the city made major improvements from 2009 to 2010.

Youngstrom reported that in 2009, the city water fund was at a deficit of $69,356. That deficit has since been eliminated.

“Right now the city has a positive amount of $1,900,” he said. “It’s not much, but the big thing is, they erased that deficit.”

Youngstrom said that the city has made improvements and cut costs in its day-to-day operation.

“(The city) has improved (its) entire system,” he said. “There have been big changes from start to finish.”

According to the report, Standish was found to be in compliance with its deficit reduction plan that it filed with the State of Michigan.

One major issue was journal entries for the internal controls. Youngstrom said those entries have been cleaned up and are efficient.

City Manager Michael Moran said getting a positive report is great news for Standish.

“We are able to balance our budget, and a few thousand dollars here and there can make a huge difference,” he said.

Moran said that the turnaround would not have been possible without sacrifice and the hard work of the city clerk and treasurer, Peggy Burch.

“The diligence of (Peggy) has brought our budget around in a positive way,” he said.

Moran said trimming the budget was not easy, adding that city employees are working fewer hours and doing more work.

“We have had to make a number of sacrifices and, unfortunately, layoffs,” he said.

Moran said a number of changes had to be made including, the Teamsters Union Local 486 pushed back their pay increase from 2011 to 2014, the administrative staff has cut work hours to a 32-hour work week, and changes have been made to medical insurance.

“Our administrative staff has made significant sacrifices,” he said.

Youngstrom said that in the current economy of Michigan, the results were impressive.

“Given the hand (Standish) was dealt with the loss of (Standish Maximum Correctional Facility), getting balanced results this year is incredible,” he said.

Youngstrom added that they city still has work to do, adding that if the administration continues to work hard and stay on top of their budget they can “weather the economic storm.”

“I believe the key to success is a stable financial plan,” he said. “When you’re stable finically, it allows you to do so many things.”

Youngstrom said there are still a few things that city management can work on.

According to the report, Yeo & Yeo suggested that the city management review transactions that are being handled electronically and develop a formal policy to meet the needs of the city’s internal control system for policy and procedures, such as money transactions.

The reports also suggest that the city record all activity monthly, like all of the regular accounts the city has. It is also suggested that Standish request the that the Authority Board establish procedures to monitor and establish a budget before the end of the end of fiscal year, ensuring expenditures are not in excess of the amount appropriated.

Youngstrom said he believes the city will continue to see future success in the coming year.

“The next few years will be tough as well,” he said. “They just have to watch their budget.”

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