Councilors OK city budget

Allison Weintraub |
The Pawhuska City Council passed the fiscal year 2017-2018 budget by a 4-1 vote at its June 5 meeting. See story on 1 Allison Weintraub/Journal-Capital

Pawhuska city councilors passed the fiscal year 2017-2018 budget on a 4-1 vote after much discussion on June 6.

The city is awaiting an audit to determine what the access would be to some of the funds. The money to hire an auditor come from the special services fund, which was increased $25,000 to a total of $50,000, but the decision on which auditor to hire has not yet come before the council.

Steve Holcombe, Ward 2 city councilor, strongly objected to a “modified cash-basis audit,” and recommended Pawhuska look for a different kind of audit.

“What I want to see the city do is a gap audit, or something closer to it. As far as I’m concerned, and I made it clear in my lengthy letter last fall, this modified-cash basis gives us no opportunity to plan off of, period.” Holcombe said. “It just says we have a pulse.”

Holcombe said he plans to bring the issue of auditing selection in a motion at the next City Council meeting for a full discussion on the matter.

The motion to adopt the budget was passed, with all council members except Holcombe voting in favor of the 2017-2018 operating budget.

There were two items involving the EPA that the Council heard during their regular meeting. The first was an update on the EPA involvement in north Bird Creek and authorizing Mike McCartney, city manager, to work with the agency.

“We received a call last week to see if it was all right to put a monitor down by our intake,” Mayor Mark Buchanaan said, “They’re monitoring all of that from Bird Creek up through there. Where they wanted to do it, they didn’t like crawling down on the rocks and getting in there and so they drew back and went back up the creek.”

However, the Council has not heard from the EPA what their final location will be.

They do know as part of the monitoring that the EPA will be “shutting down wells on the 28th.” Holcombe said it was important to show the council is paying attention to the fact that their main water supply has been turned off.

The vote was 4-1, with Roger Taylor voting against the measure.

The Council also authorized Mayor Mark Buchanaan as the designated representative to meet with the Osage nation and discuss adoptions and recommendations proposed by the EPA Smart Growth America program.

The Council spent some time discussing the logistics of the fireworks display and authorized city manager Mike McCartney to purchase a tractor up to $20,000.