Williston audit confirms progress

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By Carolyn Ten Broeck, Editor

The city of Williston was commended for making progress in correcting the deficiencies pointed out in last year’s  annual audit.
“It was a much more pleasurable audit this year,” Helen Painter told the city council last week. “This is a good team to get the city back on track.”
Unlike last year when the audit was considerably late due to poor financial record keeping and the turnover at city hall, this year’s audit will only miss the deadline a few days and will show a city that is meeting the challenge.
Some recommendations from the 2010 audit are also in the 2011 report, including the need for a software program that tracks the city’s inventory and integrates with the general ledger. Currently manual and Excel spreadsheets are used.
The city’s utility billing and bulk power cost adjustment are still not on track, the auditor pointed out. The auditor believes that the tax rate and calculation methods are not being implemented correctly.
By the same token, the auditor addresses concerns that the method used to calculate the Bulk Power Cost Adjustment has not been updated with the Rate Tariff sheets filed with the Public Service Commission in 2000.
Other recommendations included an inventory of capital assets and reviewing the deficit fund balance of the Airport Fund ($307,077) and pursue action to restore it.
Only one new current year recommendation was added:  a variance in the number of gallons  of water pumped verses of the number of gallons sold.
“This is high end water loss for a city this size,” Painter said.
The water loss is of particular concern for Councilor Charles Goodman who asked for specific numbers. Goodman also said the city needs to adopt a plan to start replacing and/or repairing existing water lines, many of which are old and corroding.
“We can’t afford to replace all the infrastructure,” Goodman said, “but we can plan  for targeted areas. We can deal with this if we have the vision.”