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Audit Results, ESFD Training Facility, and Streetscape Project Move Forward at Dec. 18 City Council Meeting

Watch a full replay of the December 18, 2023 City Council Meeting on the Excelsior Citizen YouTube Channel.

Several agenda items were discussed at the December 18, 2023, Excelsior Springs City Council meeting. The 2021 Fiscal Year Audit was presented, highlighting the city’s financial accountability and transparency. The council then considered a resolution for the Fire Department Training Facility Project to enhance the department’s training capabilities and overall community safety. The Council also approved an engineering contract with Lamp Rynearson for the 2024 Streetscape Maintenance Project. Finally, the council reviewed the November 2023 Revenue Report and Financials, ensuring the city’s fiscal health. The meeting also included remarks from the City Manager, Council members, and the Mayor, along with a motion to move to a closed session.

Fiscal Audit

In a presentation to the City Council, Jacob Holman, a Certified Public Accountant with Forvis, provided an overview of the city’s 2021 fiscal audit that his firm had conducted. Holman’s address covered several aspects, outlining the audit’s scope and findings and highlighting future considerations for the council.

Holman stated that the financial statement audit and single audits were substantially complete. He emphasized updating subsequent events to reflect financial activities since 2021 accurately. Holman explained that the audit encompassed two primary components: a detailed financial statement audit, scrutinizing internal controls and significant transaction cycles, and a compliance-based audit necessitated by federal expenditures exceeding $750,000, specifically examining the CDBG grant.

A notable outcome from the audit was the assurance of a clean or unmodified opinion on the financial statement audit, indicating that the city’s financial statements were materially accurate. Additionally, the single audit revealed no compliance-based findings, a positive indicator of the city’s adherence to federal requirements.

Holman highlighted vital changes since the 2020 audit, including the adoption of GASB 84, which added a statement of changes to custodial funds and a restatement footnote for previously unaccounted capital assets amounting to $800,000. He also detailed the communication requirements met during the audit, including governance letters and lists of journal entries.

The city’s financial health was a point of emphasis. Holman pointed out that the General Fund balance was $2.6 million, with unassigned funds accounting for $2.1 million. He noted a slight decrease in the fund balance compared to the previous year. He also mentioned the $1.1 million in unearned revenue in GR Federal funds from stimulus funding yet to be allocated. Looking ahead, Holman underscored the importance of adapting to new accounting standards in the coming years, specifically GASB 87 and GASB 96, which will alter the accounting for leases and IT arrangements.

Holman concluded his presentation by advising the Council on the significance of understanding and adhering to federal compliance requirements, especially concerning substantial grants like the RAISE Grant. This emphasis on compliance underscored the necessity for informed governance in managing the city’s financial resources.

Fire Department Training Facility

The City Council approved the construction of a new training facility for the Excelsior Springs Fire Department. The facility will be built on land behind the fire station, utilizing a $200,000 budget from Capital Improvements. A comprehensive training environment it will include various equipment and props, such as live fire buildings, vehicle extrication areas, and specific setups for the simulation of handling hazardous materials. Read more about the new facility here.

Engineering Contract with Lamp Rynearson for the 2024 Streetscape Maintenance Project

Chad Birdsong, the Director of Public Works, made a presentation regarding the 2024 Streetscape Maintenance Project, which centered on an engineering contract with Lamp Rynearson, a step towards advancing this extensive city improvement project.

Birdsong introduced Task Order Number 2023-04, prepared by Lamp Rynearson, outlining the engineering services required for the upcoming streetscape maintenance. This project, funded through the Transportation Trust, is set to bring considerable enhancements to various parts of the city.

The 2024 project will focus on several areas, including base repairs and chip sealing in the Vintage Subdivision, along with improvements on Rock Bridge Parkway, Bell Drive, High Drive, Forest, Golf Hill Drive, Liberty, Richmond, Kent, Owen, and Highland streets. Additionally, Urbanized Area Boundary Survey (UBAS) work is planned for Madison Park Subdivision and West Springs subdivision. The selection of these areas aligns with recommendations from the Pavement Condition Index Report, which directs maintenance efforts based on available funding and street conditions.

Birdsong detailed the financial aspects of the contract, stating a lump sum of $53,300.00 for engineering, design, construction administration, and observation. He emphasized that this fee covers the preliminary stages of the project, with the actual construction funds to be approved in 2024.

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