Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Providence hears city audit, tables water tower demo talks

J-E Reporter
The City of Providence heard the results of their FY2013 audit Monday night during the regular scheduled meeting.  All members were present, with the exception of Councilman Scott Frederick, to hear results of the annual city audit.
Audit Director Jack Somerville, and Harrison Price, CPA of Myriad CPA Group, presented an overview of the audit which included several highlights:  the City’s assets exceeded its liabilities at the close of the fiscal year by $5,238,490; and the City’s total debt decreased by $508,850.  As stated in the formal report, the basic financial statements present two different views of the City through the use of government-wide statements and fund financial statements.  The report also contains additional information to enhance the understanding of the financial condition of the City.  

While the auditors offered several opinions regarding areas of possible improvement in some matters, the Council was quick to note that any remaining issues either had been corrected, or were in the process of being reviewed.  The auditors commended City Clerk Kay Travis and the mayor for their responsive and supportive assistance throughout the process.  The audit report is available for viewing at the City office. 
In other business, the council discussed and approved the purchase of a new garbage truck at a cost of $132,763.  As reported earlier, Webster County Fiscal Court is providing $90,000 toward the purchase of the vehicle, and the council will determine the best method of financing the balance. 
Also, bids have been received for the demolition of the water tower, however, the council voted to table the process until further notice.  
According to Mayor Eddie Gooch, the three bids received on the project (which were opened on Friday) came in a great deal higher than what the city had expected.
“The engineer we were working with trying to find a way to save the water tower had talked to a company that tears them down,” Gooch said after the meeting. “They told him they could do it for between $12,000 and $15,000. The bids we received were for $25,000, $27,000 and $32,000.”
Governmental agencies in the state of Kentucky are required to bid any jobs that cost over $20,000. Gooch said that Providence bid the job, although it was not required to do so since it had an estimate lower than $20,000, because they felt it was the proper thing to do.
“As long as you go about it the proper way, you have the right to do what is best for the city,” he continued. “We want to keep the money local, and our low bid was a local business. But we have to do what is best for the city.
Gooch said the city will contact the company that gave the $15,000 estimate. If they cannot honor their original number, the city will most likely take the lowest bid received last week.
Although residents hate to see the water tower go, Gooch said the city does not have any choice. Water towers are designed to be at their sturdiest when full. The Big Hill tank will no longer hold water, making it a falling hazard. Its location on one of the highest points in town, with a number of houses and apartment building beneath it, makes it especially hazardous.
“It’s only a matter of time,” he said. “We need to get it torn down before the high winds in May.”
Finally, a first reading to amend the current budget was made.  There were no public appeals, but several members noted concerns of a few residents about the condition of the streets, and the potholes that have resulted from the recent cold weather.  
Mayor Gooch acknowledged the complaints and stated that work has begun, and will continue as needed to make the repairs.  Next scheduled meeting will be at 7:00 P.M. on April 6th.


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