By Graham Sturgeon, staff writer
The Durand City Council held a special meeting Monday, Nov. 30, to approve the recently-received audit report of the city’s 2014-2015 Budget from CPA Paul Bailey of the accounting firm Stewart, Beauvais & Whipple P.C. (SBW). The council also used this time to approve a one-time wage adjustment for all city employees, which marks the fourth consecutive year the council has been able to offer some type of wage adjustment or increase.
After reviewing the city’s financial records extensively, SBW gave the city an “unmodified opinion,” and praised the city for maintaining a healthy fund balance and for being so cooperative during the months-long audit process.
Overall, the city ended the 2014-2015 fiscal year with $16,390 in revenues over expenses, which pushed the General Fund balance up to $592,624, despite the two substantial downtown infrastructure projects that are underway. The city spent $1,648,560 during the last fiscal year and had $1,633,134 in revenue (with $964 being received from other sources).
Additionally, the city’s Street, Water and Sewer Funds are in pretty good shape as well. The Major Street Fund ended 2014-2015 with a balance of $120,776, the Local Street Fund with $112,160 and the Street Fund with $124,912. The Water Fund ended with $366,721 of working capital and the Sewer Fund ended with $873,228.
As for the wage adjustments, the council held this meeting in advance of the Dec. 7 meeting so that employees could receive their checks at the city Christmas party this weekend. Each city employee received a one-time three-percent wage adjustment that is calculated based on the employee’s annual base wage.
City Manager Amy Roddy explained that the one-time wage adjustments are used to compensate the city employees, as the city’s recent “unstable revenue history” has made it “next to impossible” for the city to give permanent wage increases.
“Since the city was able to reduce its General Fund expenses by over $50,000 from our budgeted projections, it seems logical that employees should be compensated for their roles in maintaining costs, while performing their duties within the organization,” said Roddy following the Monday meeting.
The wage adjustments were made to the 2014-2015 Budget, so the current budget will not be affected by Monday’s vote. The council first authorized similar post-audit wage adjustments in 2012, when city employees received an additional three percent of their base wage. The city granted a two percent adjustment in 2013; and a 1.5 percent wage increase and half-percent wage adjustment in 2014.
The employee wage adjustments totaled $30,860, with $21,360 coming from the General Fund, $7,500 from the Water and Sewer Fund, and $2,000 from the Equipment Revolving Fund, all from the 2014-15 budget.