Monette receives good audit report

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

The Monette council met on October 24 and held a lengthy session consisting of audit reports, donation of property, and discussion of contracts with Monette Youth Association.

City auditor Tim Short reviewed the 2004 audit, giving the city a clean opinion on the single audit, and praising the office personnel for good record keeping practices.

Clay and Kima Stewart deeded their property on the corner of Drew and Edmonds to the city to use any way they deemed necessary.

"We give this property to you with no stipulations," Kima Stewart said. "We know you will be goods stewards of it, and use it in the best way possible. We are glad to give it to you."

Councilman Ernestine Harrell presented an agreement with the Monette Youth Association for council approval. Another agreement was drawn up by the MYA.

"The Monette Youth Association voted twice for the funds to be divided 70-30 after the present grant is paid off, and that is not included in that agreement," Billy Watson, MYA President, said.

"This agreement is open-ended with no stipulation of division of funds," councilman Byron Sparkman said.

"Then who will be selling the signs?" Watson asked.

"You (MYA) will." said Sparkman.

"They say forget the signs until the grants are fulfilled," Watson said. "You say this should be summed up now and then subject to change later on. I don't want this to go on like it is. The betterment of our MYA program could be cut out. I am speaking on behalf of the board, not expressing my personal opinions."

"The maintenance and improvements at the park have to be done, even after the grant is completed," said Harrell.

"We are giving 30 percent of the net income to the grant today," said Watson.

"This needs to be used for the best purpose," said Harrell.

"The sign project is your fund raiser," said councilman Steve Suber.

"The MYA fundraiser will go to fulfil the grant," said MYA officer Michael McFarlin. "We give 100 percent of all funds as long as the grant is in place. When it is fulfilled we want to take the 70 percent to benefit programs we are in charge of. We are concerned that the special park fund will hold our money waiting for another grant, and we might not get it for 4 or 5 years."

"The MYA is not a moot point," said Watson. "We want to respond to the resistance."

"This is not a dead end misunderstanding, that we enter into an agreement for the grant," said Fletcher. "We need the parks committee, the city council and the MYA to all be on the same page. Some people think they know what is going on, but they don't. We put lights at the park last year out of the General Fund, with approval of the state and city. We aren't just throwing money around."

"They know that this is a city owned park," said Recorder Vickki Carroll.

"Everyone knows that," said Watson. "We are a group of volunteers under the thumb of the city. "We want a better program and a better park."

"We all feel the same," said Fletcher.

"We don't just want the money laying there, when the grant is finished," said Watson. "We don't want to wait and decide then. We need to decide something now."

"By making a decision now you are limiting yourself to just 70 percent, when you could have 100 percent," said Sparkman

"This is not practical from the road we have been on," said Watson.

"This is their project," said Suber. "They do all the work. Why not add the 70/30 agreement ? Why not put it in there?"

"Why not just leave it open?" said Harrell.

"If they (MYA) are not happy with the sign project, it being their project, then it won't go very far," said alderman Tom Carroll. "Perhaps we could look at a 60/40 split."

"They tried coming to an agreement and it didn't make a go," said alderman Martha Jane Hout.

"How can we get our agreement back to the city?" said Watson. "They went against what we proposed before. I don't think we have an avenue when committees disagree."

"The park should be incentive enough to get out and raise funds," said Harrell.

"The sign project is the only major fund raiser that they (MYA) have done," said Vickki Carroll.

"It has been outstanding for six months," said Watson.

"We haven't kept it from happening for six months," said Harrell.

A vote was taken on Harrell's original motion to accept the parks committee version of the agreement with the MYA. The motion failed 2 to 3, with aldermen Joyce Read and Harrell voting for it, Tom Carroll, Hout and Suber voting against it, and Sparkman abstaining.

"What do we do with this thing?" said Fletcher.

Alderman Suber made a motion to "Hammer this thing out until next month and let the MYA and the park committee work it out." The motion died for lack of a second.

"Perhaps we should propose that the agreement read 70/30 after the grant," said Sparkman.

"She (Harrell) added some things after we talked," said Watson. "Everything we have done to this point, we have gone back to the board. We would have to go back to the board with the 60/40 idea."

"Not is the council approves it," said Harrell.

"Does 50/50 not seem fair?" said Read.

"The council originally agreed to the 70/30 agreement, then they flip-flopped it," said Harrell.

"I thought we voted to give them 70 and us 30." said Hout.

"The money is not even here yet," said Tom Carroll. "Can't we do a yearly review on this 60-40 idea, till the grant is paid and review it every year after that?"

"After the grant is paid, let's do a 60-40 split, to be reviewed yearly," said Carroll.

"I still don't feel good about taking this to the MYA and then coming back to the council and having it changed," said Watson. "This has been taken out of our hands."

"You can come before the council any time you want," said Suber.

"The city council has the final authority of everything that goes on down there," said Harrell.

The council passed the recommendation with the 60-40 split, by a 5-1 vote, with Harrell voting against it.

The council voted to approve the election of the new MYA officers.

Harrell passed out copies of the gross and net tabulations received last month from the MYA, along wit their check for $1,551.74, representing 30 percent of the net income.

"After looking at the figures, we don't come up with the same amounts," said Harrell.

"It shows $15,549.03 deposits for the concession stand and gate, and a gross amount of $21,951.30.

"Several expenses are listed," said Harrell. "Which included charges at Sam's, Entergy bill, Umpires, Turbo Ice, Wal-Mart, and such. The expenses were taken from the Concession and Gate gross amount.

"We show gross concession receipts of $9,568.88, less concession supplies, and energy bill would total $4,841.78 in net receipts," said Harrell. "Thirty percent of that would be $1,452.53. Gross receipts for the gate were $5,948.51, with no expenses. Thirty percent of that is $1,784.55. Since you'll paid the city $1,157.49, that still leaves you owing $2,079.59. You'll would have been better off paying us 10 percent of the gross, as we suggested."

"I am speechless," said Watson. "We will go over it. I can't assume for this right now."

"You can only count expenses for the gate and concession, not for field prep, umpires and such," said Harrell. "Not expenses for running the game. You pay for that out of your profit."

"It is an expense of the business, not the program," said Suber.

"If you take the amount off the gross, you don't have to worry about expenses," said Harrell.

"When it was presented, this didn't play out based on these figures," said Watson.

The council voted to amend the original contract and to specify that the MYA pay 30 percent of the gate receipts only. The MYA will keep all concession funds.

Watson agreed that the MYA should pay the difference in the gate fees collected to total $1,784.55.

"This is not a negative agreement," said Fletcher.

"I am satisfied with it," said Watson.

Monette Mayor David Fletcher thanked the Stewarts on behalf of the city.

Other council business included:

*The council renewed the city wide tax millage with Resolution 2005-04, which consist of 1.8 for real estate property and 1.8 for personal property.
*The ACE certification packet is in Little Rock for Monette's recertification.
*Councilman Ernestine Harrell announced that Monette had been invited to Jacksonville to make their formal presentation for the $225,000 park grant. Vickki Carroll will be presenting the grant proposal.
*The council approved and $9.00 increase for Jennifer Mann, who has completed her 6 month probational period.
*The Monette Christmas Parade was set for December 5.
*Mayor Fletcher passed out blueprints to the council, of two floor plans for the new city hall renovation. No decision was made.
*Mayor Fletcher reported on the Highway 18 four-lane project and the meeting at the community center.
*Six hundred dollars in expenses was approved for Chief of Police Brian Carmichael to attend the ASU Leader's Program, in Jonesboro.

"This will help Brian develop life skills, and make him even more valuable to us," said Fletcher.

*No report was given on request to share expenses for paving parking lot at BIC High School

The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be on November 28, beginning at 7 p.m. at city hall.

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