City Receives Positive Audit Report
Published April 23, 2012 @ 3:47 p.m.
Mayor Thressa Harp began the regular Post City Council meeting on April 12 by reading a proclamation expressing the city’s support of National Child Abuse Prevention month.
Following approval of minutes from the March 8 meeting and invoices received for April, 2012, David Copeland, CPA, Audit Manager for Bolinger, Segars, Gilbert and Moss of Lubbock gave a report on the 2011 annual city audit. Stating that City Secretary Deana Watson “is improving every year” and that the city “records are in really good shape,” Copeland said that there were no major audit entries although some entries were recategorized. Copeland issued a “clean opinion” on the city’s financial statement. “The City is in very good shape financially,” he continued. “There was no new debt this year with a $1,670,000 reduction in debt.”
Michael Isbell, Emergency Management Coordinator, discussed emergency preparedness with the council. “No written plan exists, but we do test the tornado sirens once a year.” Isbell explained, referring to a plan in the event of a tornado indicating that the city manager believes a written protocol is needed. “We have a good system and good people” Isbell continued. “I’m looking for a template for storm preparedness.” He also said that he would provide to local media some safety steps for citizens in a severe weather situation issued by the National Weather Service.
Item to “discuss/consider allowing Randy Conner to tie into water line from Caprock water supply” was on the council agenda again this month; however Conner had informed the city manager that he could not attend the city council meeting.
Chris Atkinson, Director of Post Community Recovery Center made a report to the council stating that the center is seeing an average of 25 clients each month as well as handling over 80 Children’s Protective Service cases during the past year. “We’ve had a 75% reunification rate,” Atkinsons said, referring to the instances when a family is reunited after experiencing a situation requiring intervention by CPS. He also informed the council about the Center’s 30th Anniversary activities and scholarship fund. An Open House is scheduled for May 17, 4 to 7 p.m. at the CRC.
Merika Strivens, representing Post Community Action, presented information about the Texas Home Investment Partnership program that provides for 5 homes to be built in the City of Post and 5 in Garza County. Recipients of the homes must meet specific requirements as outlined by the program. City Manager Taylor asked that it be very clear whether the city would be responsible for demolition and land preparation before the homes are built. “That could be very costly,” Taylor said.
Jackie Cruse, president and founder of Post City Festivals came before the council to express his concerns over disbursement of hotel/motel tax funds. Cruse explained that he had been communicating with the city manager about ways to help the businesses on Main Street during the street repairs. “We [Post City Festivals] have planned an event for May 11 & 12 that will help bring people to Main Street,” Cruse explained. “Arbie suggested that we [Post City Festivals] use hotel/motel tax funds that were originally given to us for the Christmas light show to fund this event in May.” When Cruse shared this information with a “member of the hotel/motel committee” he was told that the money was approved for a Christmas event and could not be reallocated to another event.
Cruse then spoke personally with Mayor Harp about the situation and was told that he should come before the Hotel/Motel Tax Committee, present information about the May event and request to reallocate funds from his original event to it. Cruse stated that he “didn’t feel comfortable going before the committee” because he didn’t want to “subject” himself to the committee. Mayor Harp explained that she also gave Cruse the option to present his request to the committee in writing rather than in person. Instead Cruse chose to bring his questions and grievances directly to the city council.
The total hotel/motel tax fund allocated in the new budget year was $64,000; less than 1% of the city's $7,660,500 budget. Hotel/motel tax is collected from an individual who pays for a room or space in a hotel costing $15 or more each day. State law dictates what types of events/projects can be funded locally with these tax funds with the primary benchmark being whether a project or event has the potential to bring overnight visitors to Post. A Hotel/Motel Tax Committee had been used by the City of Post several years ago to hear proposals for use of local tax funds; that procedure was reinstated for the 2011/2012 budget year. Once the committee qualifies funding requests, they are presented to the City Council for approval.
Council member Pixie Grisham, the city council representative on the Hotel/Motel Tax Committee explained that decisions made by the committee are done without consideration of any "street talk" or individuals. She explained that the committee looks at each project objectively and encouraged Cruse to follow the protocol that everyone else is asked to follow.
The City Manager, speaking directly to Cruse, said “I’ll tell you what you need to do. You need to write out your plan and submit it to the committee.”
During further discussion among council members regarding documentation of hotel/motel tax money spent as well as questions and opinions expressed by citizens attending the meeting, Cruse walked out of the meeting without further comment and without establishing a resolution to his question regarding funding of the Post City Festivals May event.
Moving to the next agenda item, City Attorney Slater Elza reported to the council that the White River water contract is “definitely back to square one.” “The White River Water District is taking a new direction and has hired new bond attorneys,” he said. “We’re starting over.”
The council approved the sale of an empty lot at 612 May St. for $2000. All taxes owed on the property amount to $9675.
The next regular City Council meeting will be May 17 at 5:30 p.m. City council candidates will be sworn in at that meeting.