Tahlequah Daily Press

November 18, 2013

TPWA board mulls audit; loss reported

By SEAN ROWLEY
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Much of Friday’s meeting of the Tahlequah Public Works Authority Board of Trustees was spent discussing the financial audit for fiscal 2012-’13, which revealed a loss for the utility.

LaDonna Sinning, CPA for Arledge and Associates of Edmond, explained the report and fielded questions from the board for about 40 minutes.

TPWA finished with a loss of $67,237 for the fiscal year “from a for-profit standpoint,” and there was mild surprise on the board when Sinning explained the reason.

“There is a loss because TPWA guarantees the 2009 sales tax revenue bonds,” Sinning said. “They were issued by the TPWA and are secured by utility assets, utility revenues and sales taxes. Though it is the city’s money, while it is held in trust in a bank account in the authority’s name, you are responsible.”

Sinning said if sales tax revenue on the bonds is low, TPWA has pledged to cover the shortfalls.

“These kinds of bonds are quite common, because the city cannot issue bonds in this way,” she said. “They are funded with sales taxes primarily, but the people buying the bonds want a backup. That is where the authority comes in.”

“But if I read this correctly, we still did pretty well, right,” asked Chairperson Kelly Ross, to which Sinning responded “Yes, absolutely.”

Sinning also explained that the board could not “approve” the audit, but could “accept” it, which was done unanimously.

TPWA approved a change order for the tank replacement at the Westside Water Storage Facility. An additional $10,450 was approved for the $1.8 million project.

Approval was also given to purchase a bucket truck for $138,156. The vehicle was bought for the electric department to replace an aging truck which was reported to be needing service every few weeks.

The board heard the engineer’s report by Steve Tolar, the general manager’s report from Mike Doublehead and financial report by Gail Dotson.

WHAT’S NEXT

The next regular meeting of the Tahlequah Public Works Authority is Dec. 13 at 9 a.m. in the board room of the public works office, 101 N. College Ave.

srowley@tahlequahdailypress.com