Qualified Audit Opinion Received by City

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – Shortly after the City of Grapeland’s monthly city council meeting was called to order, Mayor Balis Dailey introduced Kathi Calvert, with the Houston County Career Women organization.

“With me tonight is Sandy Lawrence and Jan White,” Calvert began. “We have had fundraisers the past few years to help build up our funds. They have primarily been focused on scholarships in the past but we wanted to reach out and become more involved with civic activities, starting with the parks.”

Calvert, who serves as the general manager of the Houston County Electric Co-op, added “… we look at that as a good place for recreation and outdoor entertainment. This is what people see when they come to visit our county and cities. So, we are donating $1,000 to the City of Grapeland park fund tonight.”

Dailey expressed his appreciation to Calvert and commented this would be the first donation to a fund previously discussed by the city council.

As the meeting continued, Brandon Bridges with the Grapeland Economic Development Corporation reported the GEDC had approved $20,000 in “pre-closing expenses” to help facilitate the arrival of the Darling Ingredients, Inc. plant scheduled to be built east of Grapeland. The funds will help cover archaeological studies, legal fees and other associated costs.

Following the GEDC report, Kim Johnson with the accounting firm of Todd, Hamaker and Johnson provided the council with annual audit year ending on June 30, 2017.   

“The audit report was given to you, but I guess you didn’t get a chance to review it until today. I know the mayor and (City Secretary) Donna (Deal) had a chance to review it,” Johnson said.

“On pages three, four and five is a very lengthy opinion on the city’s finances. This is all language that is very standard. I do have a qualification – or modification – of my opinion, similar to last year. There is a second section of the financial statements that I am not giving an opinion on because I can’t specifically – there was no inventory taken at the end of the year on supplies. Because of that, that hinders my ability to give an opinion relating to certain areas, this is in the EMS and water and sewer areas. What is going to have to happen for this to go away is a supply inventory is going to have to be taken,” Johnson said.

Dailey commented he felt the issue was more with the EMS area and added he believed the water and sewer areas should be fine.

“Overall, the net position of the city for the end of the year was $2,143,000 in assets being greater than the liabilities. So it’s a healthy net position. What I also saw this year was an increase in what is referred to as the unrestricted net position. This is money that is free of any debt service, infrastructure or anything like that. It went from about $17,000 to $335,000 in total,” Johnson said.

Before she concluded, Johnson stressed the city needed to work on the segregation of duties as part of a checks and balances system. The audit was unanimously approved by the council.

In other matters brought before the council:

  • Consent Agenda items were approved by the council.
  • The Municipal Court collected a total of $4,278 comprised of $2,647 in city revenue, $1,631 in state revenue and $531.77 in delinquent fees. There were 45 citations written, 11 total dispositions, and one capias pro-fine was issued.
  • Grapeland Police Lt. Ronnie Howell reported his department made four arrests, issued 45 citations and 26 warnings in August. He also provided the racial profiling report for the month of August.
  • Grapeland City Superintendent David Malone reported the city used 5,902,000 gallons of water from the municipality’s water wells. There were 8,202,000 gallons of water sold during the month of August and 3,006,000 gallons of wastewater were treated, for a daily average of 96,967 gallons.
  • Houston County Fire Marshal and Grapeland Fire Chief Roger Dickey said the fire department responded to a total of 20 fire alarms for the month of August which brought the year-to-date total to 90. He added there were 36 EMS calls for the month which brought the year-to-date total to 147.
  • The city council approved a proclamation designating the week of Sept. 17 through Sept. 23 as Constitution Week.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.