October 23, 2014

Au Gres receives clean financial audit

City takes ownership of former Lutz’s Funland property

Tim Barnum
The former Lutz's Funland property in Au Gres is now city property.
Posted

Au GRES — The city council of Au Gres was presented with its 2012-13 fiscal year audit during its meeting Nov. 5, and despite having to dip into its fund balance, the city is still in solid financial shape.

Jamie Rivette, a certified public accountant with Yeo & Yeo of Saginaw, said the city showed no major issues in its bookkeeping or budget process.

“There were no material weaknesses or deficiencies,” she said.

Rivette did make some recommendations to city council. She said the city should create two policies — a credit card receipt policy and a formal electronic fund transfer policy.

City Manager Pat Killingbeck said the two recommendations had been addressed since the end of last fiscal year.

“These two items that were recommended, council’s already approved those earlier this year,” she said.

The audit showed that the city had to borrow approximately $53,000 from its fund balance, leaving around $580,750 in fund balance. The revenues in the 2012-13 fiscal year were approximately $445,000, and the expenses were about $498,000.

Killingbeck told the Independent the city’s fiscal year begins July 1 and ends June 30.

In other city council news, city Attorney Pat Winter informed officials that due to a recent court judgment, the former Lutz’s Funland property has been registered with the county as property of the city of Au Gres.

“It’s yours to do with what you want at this point in time,” he said.

Members of the city council discussed possible options for the property, though no decisions were made regarding it. Council member Larry Malace said there could be some interest from people in buying some of the equipment or materials on the site.

“Somebody might be interested in just the scrap out there from selling that,” he said.

Mayor Tom Ennes said he knew some people were interested in buying the waterslide at the former park.

Killingbeck told the Independent there has been inquiries into the slide.

“There was some interest in it at one time,” she said. “Four or five people called.”

But since the city just assumed ownership Oct. 30, Killingbeck said there has not been any action taken at the property yet. She did say the property would have to be cleaned up so it can attract someone who would be interested in putting a business there. It is likely the city will have to pay to clean up the former amusement park, Killingbeck said.

“It definitely is something that we’ll need to tackle now. It will be an expense,” she said. “There’s no doubt about it. We’ll have to spend some funds to get rid of that.”

“It’s another eyesore that needs to be cleaned up to be put back a productive highlight in our community,” she added.

According to Killingbeck, the city had a choice approximately four years ago whether to let the property go to the land bank, or to assume ownership.

“When it went up for tax sale, you have a choice of letting it go to the county land bank or keep it,” she said. “The city did decide to keep it, because of its primary location in our downtown.”

The city had to pay roughly $20,000 in back taxes to keep it, Killingbeck added. She said there was outstanding litigation between the county and a party attempting to purchase the site, which is why it was just recently turned over to the city.

While the city picked up the amusement park property, it did shed some assets. The city sold three pickup trucks, a 1974 sewer cleaner and a 1974 street sweeper that it was storing at its water plant. Killingbeck said the sales generated about $12,067 in revenue.

Revenue from the sales will help pay for a newer sewer cleaner and some other equipment the city recently bought.

“This income from this old equipment will pay for two-thirds of our new equipment,” she said.

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