Loyall council reviews audit report

By Mark Bell - For the Enterprise

During Monday’s regular meeting, Loyall City Council members used the majority of its time reviewing an audit report on the 2012-13 fiscal year, the time period which Mayor Clarence Longworth referred to as “the beginning of (the decline).”

Ongoing losses in population, business activity, grant opportunities, coal severance funds, sewer customers and road improvement funds, among other reductions in revenue, have increasingly put the city into a financial bind.

Richard Scruggs, local CPA, shared his audit report with council members and reviewed the detailed results. While complimenting the city staff for their documentation and cooperation, Scruggs was also hopeful when he said the city has sufficient assets to cover current liabilities.

But overall, he told the council that the city is facing an ongoing “decrease in your net position,” which is an accountant’s way of saying you have to work with less money. “Personally, I thought it would be more (of a loss),” Scruggs added.

The mayor agreed that more losses were coming. Scruggs agreed the trend for next year’s audit report would be more of the same, and probably to a greater degree.

“You have a tough job ahead of you,” he sympathized. “You really do.”

In a related matter, the council approved the second reading of the privilege license tax ordinance for 2016.

The document specifies a host of business and personal activities within the city limits which will require a privilege license. The ordinance includes fines for failure to obtain permits in advance. It is an update of an ordinance last approved in 2009.

In November, the mayor had indicated lax enforcement of this over the past few years but the significant loss of revenue meant the city now had to be more stringent in collecting and policing this ordinance in the coming year.

The recent replacement of the Wilkerson Street bridge connecting the two sides of town meant Chad Street no longer needed to be one-way between Bailey and Wilkerson streets because the view of traffic coming across the bridge is no longer blocked. The street department will evaluate further before a final recommendation is made to the council.

Georgeann Lovely asked the council to recognize George Ella Lyon, Kentucky’s current Poet Laureate, who grew up in neighboring Rio Vista and attended elementary school for a time in Loyall. Since the city now uses the old school building as their office facility, she thought a marker or plaque in a public area would be an appropriate gesture. A committee was appointed to make a recommendation to the council.

In other action, the council:

• Approved the second reading of the privilege license tax ordinance for 2016;

• Approved the police, fire, street, sewer and financial reports;

• Heard a complaint of dogs creating a nuisance in old Loyall;

• Adjourned to enjoy their annual Christmas Party and a “Jordan Smith Watch” party.

By Mark Bell

For the Enterprise

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