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City Council holds its first meeting with new auditor

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Hartington City Council members spent much of their Monday meeting familiarizing themselves with some important numbers.

The Council hired AMGL CPAs and Advisors of Grand Island in December as its new city auditor to replace long-time auditor Mike Pommer.

The company is now working with several of Pommer’s former clients since he is no longer licensed to do audits. The company will also be helping the city to put together its new budget this August. AMGL representative

AMGL representative Kyle Overturf met with the Council for over an hour Monday to review the audit they had been working on for the past several months.

The 65-page report looked at the city’s financial history and past accounting practices and gave recommendations for several changes and updates.

Overturf said he felt the audit wasn't entirely complete, because they could not rely on past depreciation reports the city had been using.

Those reports simply did not contain enough information to be useful, he said.

AMGL wants to recreate a historical depreciation schedule so they have a good basis to start with their next audit.

He said the depreciation reports were a concern, but "not anything to worry about too much since it will not affect budget or cash flow."

Going forward, AMGL plans to add any items to the city depreciation schedule that cost $2,500 or more.

He also noted there are $3,700 in checks issued by the city that have been out for over a year and have not been cashed yet. He said the city needs to track these checks down and either get them cashed or have them written off.

The new audit also cleans up some of the ways information is recorded and recategorizes that information.

He also noted the auditor's report did not match the treasurer's report last year — it was off by $2,700, he said.

Overturf also recommended the city consider combining the Airport Authority and City audit instead of both entities doing their own audits.

"This could save the Airport Authority a couple thousand dollars if you don’t have to do two reports," he said.

He said most of the city governments his company works with already do this and noted the state doesn't care if it's presented as one audit or two — just as long as an audit is completed.

The audit report also contained several areas comparing Hartington to other Nebraska cities of similar size.

This benchmarking allows city leaders to see where they stack up against other communities.

"We are comparing you to every city and village in the state on a per person basis," Overturf said. "We've found this can be some very helpful information."

The comparison is for cities between 1000 and 3000 people.

Also Monday, the Council approved a building permit for Lance Heine who plans to build a garage at his house.

Council members also received a report Monday about more updates needed at the Hartington City Auditorium.

Councilman Roman Sudbeck said rain has been coming into the building from the northeast corner. He had a contractor look at the building about fixing the brick work in that area.

"The north exterior wall of the city auditorium is red soft brick and it has to be fixed, it’s delaminating," Sudbeck said. "There is water running all the way down into the basement. If we get a driving rain, we're going to get a lot of damage."

The repairs would cost over $20,000, but those funds are not in the current budget. Council members

Council members said the funds simply weren't in the budget at this time. They did, however, approve to pay up to $6,000 to patch the northeast corner as a temporary fix.

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