|By Al Owens
Meeting in regular
session last Monday evening the Vanceburg City Council gave second reading to the
ordinance establishing city taxes for the current fiscal year and then moved to adopt it.
The council has not increased taxes for several years, and the rates remain the same
again this year. The tax rate for real estate property is 13 cents per $100 of assessed
value, and the personal and tangible rate is 14 cents per $100 of assessed value.
John Spears, staff accountant with Smith, Goolsby, Artis & Reams PSC, Ashland,
appeared before the council to explain the new requirements implemented by the audit
boards regarding a Management Discussion Analysis.
The analysis is simply a discussion of the audit put in plain language by the mayor and
city clerk so the people who deal with the audit can understand how the city has spent its
Spears explained that most smaller towns like Vanceburg do not have the means to
prepare such an analysis and usually an accounting firm is hired to do the job for them,
but that would cost about $3,200 because preparing such an analysis takes about 40 hours
at a rate of about $80 per hour.
He also said that the analysis would not change his opinion of the city's audit
statement. It is supplementary information, but how the city decides to handle the
document should be determined before he begins work on the annual audit.
Spears told the council that audit boards require the analysis but the government does
not, and no penalties are assessed if it's not done. The accounting firm can simply add a
paragraph explaining that the town did not prepare an analysis.
He pointed out that the audit board had large cities in mind when the requirement was
set up, and most small towns do not prepare a Management Discussion Analysis because of
The council did not have to take any action on the matter but agreed just to let the
matter drop and have the accounting firm write the paragraph explaining that the city did
not prepare the analysis.
Council member Tim Bowden moved to table an ordinance drafted to increase the salaries
for the police officers until all members of the council had a chance to look at the
ordinance. Bowden carefully explained that the council intends to act on the ordinance
quickly, but the ordinance is written according to an outdated ordinance, and it needs to
have the wording updated.
Mayor William T. "Bill Tom" Cooper said the council members needed time to
study the ordinance to make sure everything is done correctly and to ensure that the funds
are available for the increase in salaries. He added that the city does intend to raise
the pay of the officers.
Police Chief Joe Billman encouraged the council to act soon because two more police
officers are looking for jobs elsewhere and one of them already has an offer.
Al Owens/Lewis County Herald
John Spears of Smith, Goolsby, Artis & Ream PSC,
Ashland, explains the Management Discussion Analysis required by audit boards to the
Vanceburg City Council during its regular session on Monday, October 4.
Cooper stated that many small communities face the same situation, referring to the
fact that officers get trained and certified in smaller towns and then move to higher
paying positions in other law enforcement agencies.
Cooper added that he had talked to Lewis County Sheriff Bill Lewis, and Lewis assured
him that his department would help the city while it does not have an adequate number of
officers on the force.
Bowden's motion carried with the understanding that the council will call a special
session to act on the ordinance in about two weeks.
The council then moved to set Trick-Or-Treat night this year on Friday, October 29,
from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
The council authorized Cooper to hire Fitzsimons Office of Architects, Inc., Lexington
for the Commercial Hotel project as recommended by the Renaissance Committee.
Cooper said that most bids for the job came in at about $20,000 but Fitzsimons' bid was
for $9,000 plus $85 an hour if they are called back for additional work after the plans
The council also authorized the mayor to acquire a construction loan for interim
financing with a line of credit up to $100,000 with one of the local banks for the hotel
The mayor said that the city has to pay for the work and then get reimbursed through
the Renaissance grant.
The council quickly adopted a resolution assuring the Federal Insurance Administration
that the city will enact as necessary and maintain in force all the measures required by
the administration to reduce flooding in flood prone areas of the community.
City Attorney E.V. Holder Jr. explained that without the resolution the city could not
apply for certain grants or receive funding from other sources.