Trion’s cash reserves dropped about $1.2 million during the last fiscal year, CPA Lloyd Williamson told the town council at the end of last month.
“I was telling the mayor earlier that I have a rock on my desk that my daughter gave me. It says, ‘Cash isn’t everything, but it does calm the nerves.’ So, Trion at the end of the year had $2,874,000 in the bank, which was down from the prior year of $4,162,000. That was because the money that town had was being used . . . for construction. You had a lot of money that you got ahead of time, but you had not used it the previous year because it sat in your reserve for construction. This cash is all cash, whether it’s in the water, sewer or general fund [accounts]. This is total cash,” Auditor Williamson said.
Expenditures during the last fiscal year dropped from $5,022,000 to $4,189,000.
“Most government units, you receive money and you spend it. You are going to retire, the town’s not. There is no reason to set there and horde money. If you’ve got money, spend it,” the CPA said.
New council member Lanny Thomas wanted to know why the police department and recreation department overspent so much, according to the audit of 2018-2019 fiscal year.
“Looking over it on our expenditures, on budgeted amounts, we went way over on our public safety and our recreation. Is that where we have been building? Why are we over? I think recreation went over $359,000 and public safety we went over $207,000. Add that up, all those together, we went over by $500,000,” Thomas said.
Mayor Larry Stansell said the new press box and concession stand is what drove up the recreation center expenses.
“That’s a large amount to go over in the budget. I just did not know if that was it,” Councilman Thomas said.
“Three-hundred-and-fifty-one-thousand of that was on a DNR Recreational project. So if you take that out, the recreation department was $8,000 over budget,” the auditor said.
“How about public safety? Is there a reason we went over $207,000 on that?” Thomas asked.
The town overspent $45,000 on police vehicles and overspent $57,000 on police equipment, according to the auditor.
“It seems like everything else was just a lot of different increases. Energy and gas increased $10,000. Repairs and maintenance increased $21,000. Just a lot of it adds up,” the CPA said.
Williamson gave his report on Jan. 16. Then at Trion’s regular council meeting the next week, they approved the audit.
“I make that motion that we accept the audit,” Councilman Thomas said.
“For a second?” Mayor Pro Tem Mickey McGraw said.
“May I ask? Could you amend your motion Lanny that we do the comments in the back and we try to handle it that way and do it monthly if there is an amendment to the budget, etc. They were several different things in the back of the [audit] that he commented on that we should do,” Councilwoman Becky McWhorter said.
“I don’t know if that needs to be tied in with this; just to accept the audit. I think that might be something we need to have singled out and in the business in general that we bring that up. I don’t mind doing it. But right now, I feel that we just need to pass the audit,” Thomas said.
“Can we add that to the agenda for next month?” Councilwoman McWhorter said.
“Oh yeah that would be good. I don’t see any problem with that,” Thomas said.
The audit report unanimously passed.