IR Council hears audit report

IRON RIVER—In a change from many recent meetings, the regular monthly meeting of the Iron River City Council on Oct. 17 did not focus on reports from city officials, but rather on officials receiving a report.
    The findings presented were the results of the fiscal year 2018 audit of the city, presented by Scott Sternhagen of Schenck SC, an accounting and business consultation firm that operates through much of Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula. Sternhagen gave a half-hour long, detailed presentation on the audit process. He also discussed the findings of the audit.
    Overall, things appear to be relatively healthy. The general fund of the city has increased from 2017 by nearly $50,000, from $775,364 to $826,278. Additionally, Schenck had calculated that a safe minimal unassigned fund balance for the city would sit somewhere between 25 to 35 percent of the city’s operating expenditures, which currently hover around $2.2 million dollars. Since the city can cover 37.5 percent of the city’s operating expenditures, Sternhagen described its overall position as “comfortable.”
    However, a significant amount of money was spent on street projects in FY18, and those parts of the city budget ended the fiscal year in the red. This impacted other areas of the budget, reducing the total government fund balance from $1,259,062 in 2017 to $942,104, an overall reduction of more than $300,000. Sternhagen went out of his way to address this, discussing road work performed this year as the contributing factor for the change, and he went on to state that the next fiscal year should replenish those road funds. City Manager David Thayer also chimed in at this point and discussed how the funds would be rebuilt over the next year.
    The rest of the meeting went as normal. Mark Tousignant discussed the ongoing K&D case, which was scheduled to be heard on Oct 24. Tousignant also brought up a new situation where people from out the area have been filing Freedom of Information requests for election rolls and other election-related information. The requests were based out of Detroit, and Tousignant stated that there was a real question if some of the requested materials could be properly provided at all. He described the requests as “onerous,” that the processing of these requests have taken up the time of multiple city officials, and that he hoped that the completion of the impending midterm elections would make the information less desirable to these urban groups.


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