Auditor finds much to praise in city’s accounting department

By Ralph Echtinaw

St. Louis Finance Director Bobbie Marr got high marks last week from Ken Berthiaume, a certified public accountant who just completed an audit of the city’s books (covering 12 months ending June 30, 2019).

“The audit work went very smooth here,” Berthiaume said. “We encountered no difficulties, differences or problems. Also, we have reported no internal accounting control weaknesses here. The city staff was very cooperative and very helpful to us to get the job done. Bobbi Marr and her staff have done a good job maintaining the the city’s accounting records.”

Berthiaume continued: “The state of Michigan and other regulators are continuing to pile on more compliance and reporting requirements so it’s important that the city maintain its qualified and adequate staff to meet this increasing demand.”

The audit report shows that the city has $47 million in net assets; primarily infrastructure items like sewer, water and electric lines.

The city has done a good job in paying down its pension liability, Berthiaume said. At the end of 2018 the pension liability was $7,493,000. That is almost balanced by $5,752,000 that the city has in the Municipal Employees’ Retirement System trust.

That leaves a net pension liability of $1,740,000.

“The city has been very proactive on this to work that liability down as much as possible,” Berthiaume said. “Over the last ten years the city has paid down an extra $1,100,000 toward that pension liability. Those are payments in to the MIRS trust over and above the minimum contribution.”

The city closed the pension plan to new hires in 1999, “so this liability is basically capped where it’s at,” Berthiaume said.

Councilman Tom Reed praised Marr after Berthiaume’s presentation. “I just want to thank Bobbi for all the work you’ve done. Outstanding.”

New Board of Review member

City council appointed Terry Root to the Board of Review, the body that listens to property assessment claims, as new city Councilman Bill Leonard had to leave the board on account of two other council members being on that board. (There can’t be three city council members on any other board because their presence would make it a de facto city council meeting.)


No one was absent.

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