Pawhuska city officials received a briefing Dec. 11 to the effect the city has received a clean audit for the 2017-18 fiscal year. Accountant Gabrielle “Gabby” Conchola, of CBEW Professional Group, told city councilors there had been no findings, and no compliance or internal control issues.
Conchola told the councilors that Pawhuska has enough employees it can divide up financial duties in a way that helps to avoid the potential for inappropriate activity.
“It is good that you guys have mitigated those risks by segregating those duties,” Conchola said. She noted the city had a positive cash flow for 2017-18 in excess of $657,000.
City Manager Larry Eulert confirmed that number to the Journal-Capital, and also confirmed the city has financial reserves in excess of $4 million, but he emphasized that people need to understand that much of that money is earmarked for specific purposes, so it’s not like city government has large amounts of uncommitted money available.
Eulert, who worked more than 40 years in the banking industry, said he insists that accounting tasks be carried out properly.
“It has to be done right or I raise hell,” he said. Eulert voiced his dislike for debt, as well, noting city government has some $268,000 left to pay on a loan and he anticipates it will be paid off by the end of next year.
In other city business, Eulert said Dec. 11 he intends to move ahead with the process of replacing old municipal water meters with new electronic meters. Some 400 meters have already been replaced, and Eulert is planning to buy an additional 500 meters at a cost of $88,750. He anticipates it will take most of 2019 to put those in place. After that, it will take another 750 or so water meters to complete the conversion to electronic meters, he said.
In legal business before the council Dec. 11, City Attorney John Heskett presented councilors with an updated version of the municipal ordinance addressing the issue of medical marijuana. Heskett explained the marijuana ordinance will be a “moving target” for the time being, with changes coming whenever a new court ruling on the subject indicates a need for a revision.
Heskett said his goal is to keep Pawhuska from being sued directly, or made a party to any lawsuit, in regard to medical marijuana policy. The latest version of the city’s ordinance prohibits the establishment of “marijuana clubs,” which it defines as locations where members might keep or consume marijuana. The city council approved the revised ordinance.