Auditor praises Thorsby’s finances

Published 3:32 pm Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Thorsby’s Town Council on Tuesday received a favorable audit report from independent accounting firm I.H. McNeill III PC.

Howie McNeill told council members that the town has a net worth of $3.88 million.

“That’s a good-looking number,” McNeill said.

The town saw about $1.1 million in revenue during Fiscal Year 2012-13, according to McNeill, compared to about $1.3 million the year before. The major difference was a grant for work to a bridge for about $250,000 that was received during the previous fiscal year.

“I think you guys are very healthy,” McNeill said. “You make good business decisions.”

The meeting Tuesday was originally scheduled for Monday but moved because of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Councilman Randall Higgins was absent from the meeting.

The council voted unanimously to purchase a tractor for about $6,000 for the town’s parks and recreation board, which would reimburse the town in a few months, once registration fees for youth baseball and softball leagues are collected.

Mayor Jean Nelson said she thought the pre-owned tractor would benefit the board, by allowing them to drag fields and mow grass when necessary.

“I think it’s well worth the money,” she said.

The town would have to use money from its facilities improvement fund to make the purchase.

Councilman Neil Benson said he would like to see the board make rules about who would operate the tractor. Board representatives in attendance said only they and other board members would operate the tractor.

In other business, the council:

•Heard from Police Chief Rodney Barnett that his department had acquired two new patrol cars. A third vehicle was purchased, but Barnett said it sustained damage before he took possession, so it will be delivered once repairs are made. The council then approved Barnett declaring two older vehicles as surplus.

•Approved Barnett hiring Frank Davis as a part-time officer. Barnett said the number of shifts worked, and thus the department’s payroll, wouldn’t increase, Davis would simply be added to the rotation.

•Approved town firefighter Nick Watley to attend a training class at a cost of $295, which is covered by the fire department’s budget.

•Heard from Reed Kincaid with parks and recreation about the condition of the old Thorsby school near one of the town’s ball fields. Kincaid said the building was an eyesore and potentially a safety hazard and asked the council what could be done about tearing it down. Council members said that because of the cost associated with disposing of the asbestos in the building, demolition would be expensive, but agreed to study the matter further.