City presented with 'favorable' audit


ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — The city of Robertsdale was presented with and approved a “favorable” audit report at its meeting on Monday, Feb. 17.

“I think the city’s biggest asset is Ann (Chief Financial Officer Ann Simpson) and her staff,” said LeeAnn May with the Aviso Group, formerly known as Hartmann, Blackman & Kilgore. “We applaud the great things that have been done with the city’s resources.”

For 2019, the city reported total assets in the amount of $38 million, including $3.4 million in cash assets, May said.

The biggest expenses for 2019 were in renovating the city’s Honeybee Park and upgrades to the city’s electrical systems.

Under governmental activities, the city reported a change in net position of $1.7 million, May said, with eight revenues totaling $6.8 million, with expenses of $9.3 million.

“This is a loss that the city planned for and transferred funds accordingly to adjust for the loss,” May said.

The city also made improvements to the Senior Citizens facility building in 2019, May said.

The city was also strong in its debt services, May said, with long-term debt of $17 million and short-term debt (five years or less) of $7 million.

“What that show is that we are spending 7.5 cents of every dollar in debt services and that’s pretty low,” said Mayor Charles Murphy. “I just want to take this opportunity to commend the council for a good audit. With the election coming up this will assure they will all be re-elected. I will be right there with them and look forward to working with them on great things for the coming year and into the next four years.”

In other business Feb. 17, the council approved a rezoning request from R-1 to a Planned Unit Development from Alexander Land Development for property on Krchak Lane.

One area resident addressed the council, expressing concerns over drainage on the property.

“It’s already bad there and I fear that this will make it worse,” she said.

The resident also inquired about fencing around her property, which would fall on the city’s right of way.

Murphy said since the property was owned by the city and not private property, the city would work with the property owner to pay for the fencing.

The council also approved a sewer easement for the former Fred’s property.

City Engineer Greg Smith said the easement was originally placed in 1980 and redone in 2003. It was unknown at the time that the easements were not in the proper place, he said, and needed to be moved to the proper location.

Smith said there are two entities looked to purchase the property, which was closed last year. Part of the structure would be used as a restaurant and part as a small grocery store.

Also on Feb. 17, the council:

• Met in executive session with city attorney Ken Raines for approximately 45 minutes. The session was called immediately following the opening of the regular meeting, approval of minutes and bills.

• Approved a sponsorship request in the amount of $500 from the Robertsdale High School NJROTC for a team to attend the Brain Brawl National Championships.

• Approved a settlement with ECBC.

• Approved a settlement of College Street sidewalk issues.

• Approved the purchase of a half-page ad in the Gulf Coast Media Baldwin Business Annual Report at a cost of $370.

• Approved a request to apply for a grant for the city’s fire department for the purchase of a fire truck.