ELK PARK — Accountant Doug Tennant with Combs, Tennant and Carpenter P.C. provided good news to the town of Elk Park at its Dec. 2, 2019, meeting through his annual audit of the town’s finances.
According to Tennant, the town’s fund balance was deemed healthy, adding that he encouraged the town to continue working toward maintaining and adding to the balance’s health each year. Notable information that Tennant explained during his presentation to the board included news that the revenue in the town’s General Fund was near to the same amount that it was a year ago, and that collections from the town’s water/sewer fund had increased by roughly $12,000 from the same point one year prior.
Tennant noted that the town was in good financial shape and that, moving forward, the town should continue to assess its capital assets/vehicles and start planning in the future for replacements and regular needs that surface over time. Overall, Tennant stated that the town showed a cash profit of around $34,000, but that the number was not an exorbitant amount, as the sudden need for a replacement vehicle or main sewer or water line repair could quickly deplete that total.
Tennant noted that many municipalities have moved toward setting up a capital asset plan, which may be worth the town keeping in mind, as it is one method that assists the town in the maintaining of a healthy fund balance while keeping up with the town’s equipment and other needs over time.
The board also discussed the recent retirement of utilities operator/supervisor Otis Ward, who has been employed with the town for more than 25 years. The town plans to honor Ward with a celebration event, and discussed items to present to Ward and when to hold said celebration.
After discussion, the board decided on hosting a drop-in event with finger foods to give the opportunity for well-wishers to express appreciation to Ward beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 10, at Elk Park Town Hall. The town will present Ward with awards of appreciation, and invites anyone in the community who wishes to attend the celebration to take part.
In continuation of discussion held during the previous month, the board addressed the issue of the town attorney position. Butch Hughes offered a brief presentation at the town’s behest during the November board meeting, and aldermen discussed their preference moving forward for the town. After a time of discussion, the board unanimously moved to offer the position to Hughes at his rate quoted previously quoted to the town.
In other news and notes:
Each of the five aldermen who retained their seats in the November municipal election was sworn in by Mayor Boone, who administered the oath of office at the beginning of the meeting. Department heads for the aldermen were left unchanged by vote of the board, which includes Alderman Mike Smith’s supervision of the town police department personnel, Alderman and Mayor Pro Tem Joel Whitley continuing to assume supervisory duties over town maintenance/water and sewer staff, and the mayor continuing to serve as supervisor of town office staff.
- Mayor Boone expressed enthusiasm over the positive response for the recent Christmas tree lighting event at Winters Town Park, adding that he would like to offer a suggestion of hosting a town Christmas parade in 2020 with the Christmas in the Park events, including the tree lighting, refreshments and kids visiting with Santa, taking place at the park immediately following the parade. The board was receptive to the idea and agreed to the proposed plan.
- In a similar holiday vein, Mayor Boone proposed an idea to the board about ways in which the town could somehow spearhead an effort to help those children less fortunate in the community during the holiday season via donations and/or fundraisers. Boone noted that he intends to continue researching the idea but asked for the board’s thoughts, in which the aldermen were overwhelmingly supportive of the town looking into such an endeavor. Ideas including a Toy Run, or other similar event, was mentioned.
- Mayor Boone reminded the board about considering ideas which the town could utilize when it comes to projects for enhancing Winters Town Park, ideas that could be implemented in application for upcoming PARTF grant funding next year. Boone brought up the idea of reconfiguring the basketball goal area, as well as resurfacing the court and replacing fencing and basketball goals. Boone encouraged aldermen to consider additional ideas that would be beneficial for enhancing and further helping the town through the park, whose recent renovations of equipment, picnic shelters and addition of the John Boone Memorial Pavilion are among additions that have received positive feedback from the community.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Elk Park Board of Aldermen will take place at 5 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 6, at Elk Park Town Hall.