MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
OF THE WALHALLA CITY COUNCIL
March 19, 2019
Present: Mayor Danny Edwards, Councilman Danny Woodward, Councilman Josh Roberts, Councilman David Underwood, Councilman Robbie Burrell, Councilman Dennis Owens, Councilman Tjay Bagwell, and City Administrator Brent Taylor.
Guest: Brian Cassel; Jordanie Mertil, Alex McBride; Jason White, Payne, White, & Schmutz CPA, PA.
Mayor Edwards called the meeting to order at 5:30 pm. Councilman Roberts lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
Brian Cassel, a member of the Walhalla Rotary Club and Jordania Mertil, a Haitian citizen, were present to discuss “Hope for Haiti.” This program provides shoes, clothes, clean water, homes, and farming projects for a village in Haiti. Mr. Cassel proposed organizing a 5k race and day event in June or July to not only raise money for this program, but also, to bring people and business to Walhalla for the day. He stated he would like to have t-shirts available for sale and other sponsored actives planned, with council’s support.
A motion was made by Mr. Roberts and seconded by Mr. Underwood that council would proceed with this project. Mr. Edwards thanked Mr. Cassel and Ms. Mertil for the presentation.
Mr. Alex McBride was present to discuss the possibility of installing speed bumps in the Avondale Community, specifically around Pitchford Street and Collins Street. He stated that with new people moving in and bigger vehicles on the roads, it is becoming more dangerous in that area because children are at play. He further stated that several cars run the stop signs and speed in the area. Mr. Underwood suggested getting the tag numbers of the vehicles running the stop signs and turning that information over to the police department. Mr. Underwood stated that paving was an issue that council was currently dealing with DOT but would do everything they could to help. Mr. Edwards suggested the possibility of using plastic speed bumps. He stated the council would look into options that were available. Mr. Underwood thanked Mr. McBride for speaking to council.
Approval of Minutes: On a motion by Mr. Bagwell, seconded by Mr. Woodward and unanimously carried, the minutes for the regular meeting on February 19, 2019, and special meeting on February 26, 2019, were approved.
Presentation of FY2018 Audit: Mr. Jason White, from Payne, White, & Schmutz, CPA, PA, presented the FY2018 audit and gave recommendations. This year the city received an unmodified opinion, the highest opinion awarded. In years past, the City received a modified opinion because of an actuary study. However, the city decided not to have this study done this year due to cost. Mr. White said the firm determined this year the study would have presented an immaterial number that would not have been big enough to include in the audit. He further stated that if it is not big enough to include, it would not change the opinion letter. Therefore, it lifts the audit up to a little bit higher standard than it was last year.
Mr. White stated the city had a very good year if you look at the amount of money transferred from the utility fund to the general fund. The amount needed was about $192,000. Mr. White said it was a very good number and a very good trend. He also stated that the city’s water fund increased $1.1 million and the sewer fund increased $120,000.
Mr. White said he must disclose any significant deficiencies or material weaknesses that he finds. He stated a couple of deficiencies were things he stressed last year. The city’s accounting duties are not spread out enough. He feels Mr. Taylor has a lot of control over the accounting process. He said the city has the resources and staff to make sure the duties are adequately separated to remove this deficiency. Mr. Owens asked how many years Mr. White had been preparing the city’s audit. Mr. White stated at least seven years. Mr. Owens inquired if this issue had always existed. Mr. White said it has varied, but previous administrator did have a lot of control over the process.
Mr. Edwards inquired about having a monthly financial statement to be audited. Mr. White replied that having a monthly statement is beneficial. The city has accruals but also has a lot of cash basis. (e.g. who the city owes and who owes the city is not being kept up with at the end of the month?) This needs to be done monthly so adjustments aren’t having to be made at the time of the audit.
Mr. Edwards asked Mr. White if he could explain not having proper segregation of duties related to disbursement and collections. For example, a separate person should open the mail, record in the accounting system, authorize that the vendor is legit and pay the vendor. If one person is doing two or more of these there could be instances of misappropriation of assets. It also increases risk of mistakes.
Mr. White also noted that the current city policy for Accounts Payable was not being followed. He stated that they took a sample of 50 purchase orders and 22 showed no evidence of the signatures that are required by city policy. This is a significant deficiency in the AP process that isn’t being followed. Mr. White stated there should be clear evidence of who approved the purchase and the signature. He also stated the check should be reviewed and compared to supporting documentation by someone other than the person actually issuing the check. Otherwise, there is the risk for error or misappropriation.
Mr. Edwards asked for clarification concerning departments being able to pay expenses from another department’s budget expense. Mr. White explained that in the sample that was reviewed, account ledger expenses approved for one department actually showed up in a different section of the account ledger. For example, a Fire Department expense showed up in the Police Department line item. Mr. Edwards asked if it was just posted incorrectly. Mr. White said he would have no way to know the reason.
The last issue Mr. White addressed was the city’s requirement on a bank account that exceeds $250,000 (FDIC insurance amount) to have collateral set aside by the bank. Currently, the city has 3 accounts totaling more than that amount which the bank does not hold collateral on the city’s behalf. Mr. White said he isn’t sure if this is a huge risk to the city; however, it is State law. This is a non-compliance issue.
Mr. Edwards thanked Mr. White for his work and presentation.
Reading of Resolutions and Ordinances:
Mr. Roberts made a motion to adopt Resolution 2019-02, A RESOLUTION TO ADJUST ADMISSION FEES AT STUMPHOUSE MOUNTAIN BIKE PARK. The motion was seconded by Mr. Bagwell.
Discussion: Mr. Edwards asked if this could become effective July 1, 2019, in order to have the annual passes made.
Mr. Bagwell made a motion to amend Resolution 2019-02 to become effective July 1, 2019. The amended motion was seconded by Mr. Owens and unanimously carried.
Mr. Owens made a motion for second reading and adoption of Ordinance 2019-01, AN ORDINANCE TO ESTABLISH REGULATIONS FOR MOBILE FOOD TRUCKS. The motion was seconded by Mr. Bagwell.
Discussion: Mr. Bagwell clarified that the five day permit could be used any five days and did not need to be consecutive days. Mr. Burrell still expressed his concern about this and the permit fee. He asked about the business license fee for the first year. Mr. Bagwell stated it was $55.00. Mr. Burrell stated that basically it would then cost a food truck to operate $10.00 a day. He said he loved having the business in his city but for example, if The Donut Wagon sold 2000 donuts at $2.00/doughnut. They would make $4000 and only have to pay $10.00 to do so. He stated it just didn’t seem fair to the brick and mortar businesses in town. Mr. Burrell asked if business licenses are based on gross sales. Mr. Bagwell stated that was correct. Mr. Burrell asked what established restaurants pay for sewer and water. Mr. Bagwell stated that would depend on the size. Mr. Burrell said there is a lot of overhead for a brick and mortar building that is not associated with a food truck. Mr. Bagwell responded that it is obviously more expensive to run a brick and mortar business than it is a food truck, but the city gets more money per day on the food trucks. Mr. Burrell responded you will now until the restaurants go out of business. Mr. Bagwell responded they wouldn’t. That is old school thinking.
Mr. Edwards directed the discussion back to the fees. He didn’t realize that the $50 permit fee could be used for any five days and did not have to be consecutive. He stated he did not like that. Mr. Roberts stated it could be amended to state the five days would have to be consecutive.
Mr. Burrell stated he did not have a problem with the food trucks coming to town. He just did not want to see them on the side of the road of the $2,000,000 investment the city made. We need to put them in the appropriate place and charge them the appropriate amount of money to do business in the city. They just should not be in front of a business on Main Street. Mr. Woodward stated this wouldn’t happen with the 250’ requirement that is stated in the ordinance. Mr. Edwards inquired about the restrictions if a food truck set up on private property. Mr. Taylor responded that the distance requirement would still apply.
Mr. Burrell reiterated he felt the fees were too low. He also would like there to be a designated area for the food trucks. Mr. Woodward agreed. He stated he the $50.00 permit fee was too low, as well. Mr. Bagwell suggested to getting rid of the annual fee and only offering a five day consecutive permit. Mr. Owens requested that the permit be changed to six days, rather than five days.
Mr. Woodward made a motion to amend the original motion with the following changes: do away with the annual fee, offer a 6 consecutive day permit for $100.00, and take effect July 1, 2019. Mr. Bagwell seconded the amended motion and it unanimously carried.
Mr. Edwards called for the vote on amended Ordinance 2019-01. By a vote of 6-1, with Mr. Burrell voting in opposition, the motion carried.
Mr. Bagwell made a motion for second reading and adoption of Ordinance 2019-02, AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING A POLICY FOR THE DIVESTITURE OF CERTAIN PROPERTY. The motion was seconded Mr. Woodward and unanimously carried.
Mr. Owens reported the department ran ninety-one calls for the month of February. Fifty-six were fire calls and thirty-five were medical calls. The department was on multiple calls 25% of the time and provided twenty-two instances of mutual aid. Mr. Owens stated he was proud of the department and their help to the city.
Mr. Bagwell stated that with Mr. White’s presentation of the audit and the ordinances that were passed, he had nothing to report.
Mr. Burrell reported the department picked up 245 tons of residential garbage for the month and twenty-nine tons of commercial garbage. They also picked up ninety-nine tons of recyclable brush, seventeen tons of C&D waste, and twenty-four and half tons of cardboard. The department picked up twelve roll carts and delivered forty. The department has been picking up brush and debris. They have installed trail signs on Main Street. They are getting ready for spring landscape and other projects. Mr. Price and Mr. Fletcher are still working on a Litter Ordinance.
Mr. Roberts reported that the SCAP Tournament Champs 10&U Girls will play in Columbia and 12&U Girls will play in Kingstree. The SCAP Tournament runner-up 10&U Boys will play in Abbeville. The State Tournament is March 8 and 9. The department has 31 baseball teams and 382 participants.
Mr. Woodward reported Officer McCall and K9 Kimber participated in Career Day at Walhalla Elementary School. Sgt. Smith completed an evidence management course. Officer McCall is certified in maintenance on service pistols. Two certified officers were hired. Officers Sanders is headed to the Police Academy. The department completed driving training.
Mr. Underwood reported that QS1 is in place. Fifteen day billing will take effect in about three months. The department has the construction permit for the new water plant.
Mayor’s Comments: None.
Mr. Woodward made a motion to enter into an executive session for contractual matters. It was seconded by Mr. Owens and unanimously carried.
Brent Taylor, City Administrator