Cartersville council severs ties with local accountant
by Neil McGahee
Jun 20, 2014 | 1815 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Cartersville City Council saved the most surprising news for last Thursday night. In a 4-2 vote, the council voted to replace longtime auditor Williamson and Company with an Atlanta-based accountant.

In a written report to the council, Finance Director Tom Rhinehart said seven requests for proposals (RFPs) for audit service were sent and the RFP was posted on the city’s website. In the report, the finance department stated that the RFPs were sent because the current audit firm had been completing the city’s audit for a number of years and the staff felt it was needed to see what other audit firms could offer the city. Five RFP’s were returned.

The finance department’s report said the RFP was for a three-year period with an option of an additional three-year period.

When rating the five firms, the staff used five areas to grade them on based on the information provided in their proposals along with making reference checks. The staff did base the decision solely on pricing, but on a number of items such as expertise, qualifications and technical competence, along with the cost of the audit service.

The recommendation was made for the city to contract with Carr, Riggs, & Ingram, LLC for audit services for the three-year term. The cost per year will be $41,500 with an additional cost of $3,500 for a single audit, should one be needed.

City Manager Sam Grove added that he recommended approval.

When Mayor Matt Santini called for a motion and second; there was silence. Ward 2 council member Jayce Stepp commented that the council as a group was having a hard time voting to replace a local firm with one from out of the area.

After further discussion, Santini called for another motion, and this time, Stepp acceded with Ward 1 council member Kari Hodge adding a second. Santini, Stepp, Hodge and Ward 4 council member Lindsey McDaniel voted in favor while Mayor Pro-tem Dianne Tate and Ward 6 council member Lori Pruitt voted against. Ward 3 council member Louis Tonsmeire Sr. was absent.

Council heard the second reading of the 2014-15 budget from Rhinehart that outlined a decrease of $575,460, although there would be no increases in city property tax. There will, however, be an increase in water and sewer rates. The highest budgeted expenditures belonged to the Electric Fund, 34 percent; General Fund, 28 percent; Gas Fund, 18 percent; and water and sewer, 11 percent.

Some of the planned capital projects include the Highland 75 Industrial Park, Main Street Shopping Center, overhead re-conductors on Tennessee, Fite and Opal streets and Etowah Drive.

In other business, council:

• proposed an amendment to the Alcohol Festival Ordinance be added regarding the presence of guns in the festival area in response to the state law allowing the carrying of firearms.

• approved an air easement allowing Mellow Mushroom to use its balcony for restaurant seating.

• approved purchase of a $6,327 centrifuge for the wastewater lab.

• approved no more than $32,000 to purchase a breaker that controls the water pollution control plant.

• approved a $397,551 premium for property, casualty and workers compensation insurance.

Cartersville City Council’s next scheduled meeting is set for Tuesday, July 1, at 7 p.m. at City Hall. The earlier date is due to the July 4th holiday.