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New Franklin reviewing accounting contract

3/14/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

NEW FRANKLIN — New Franklin city officials are taking a closer look at a proposed contract with its accounting firm after receiving an agreement that includes a considerable cost increase.

At the March 6 New Franklin Council meeting, legislation for a two-year agreement with REA & Associates to help the city prepare for audits was introduced. The cost of the contract for the first year ending Dec. 31, 2012, is $11,500 and for the second year ending Dec. 31, 2013, is $11,850. According to city officials, the cost for 2010 and for 2011 was $8,500 for each year.

Councilman Harry Gehm (at large) stated the new contract represented a 26 percent increase from 2011 for the first year.

Council was being asked to approve the legislation after first reading since the work is already being done, and the contract was a renewal. Council members questioned that request for a number of reasons.

“We are getting this late [this morning], and we did not get time to review this,” said Council President David Stock (Ward 3).

Law Director Tom Musarra apologized and explained he often receives information late from the Finance Department.

Finance Director Susan Cooke responded the information came late to her and Mayor Al Bollas was not available to review the request since he had been out ill. She also said the contract cost for 2010 and 2011 may not have included all the work that was actually done for the city.

Council decided to take time to review costs and actual work done in the previous years to compare it to the new contract before voting on the legislation.

Council also took time on a proposed one-year agreement with Clinton Lawncare for city services and a dedication and vacation plat for the state Route 619 and South Turkeyfoot Road realignment project.

Council approved legislation for a two-year renewal agreement beginning April 1 with Mutual of Omaha for life insurance of $50,000 on city employees, at a cost of $616 monthly that is paid for by the city. The cost represents no cost increase.

Also during the meeting:

  • Bollas reported a fire in a mobile trailer at Manchester Middle School was contained within 15 minutes. He added there were no students in the structure at the time of the fire, which was caused by combustible wall materials installed too close to a heating unit, and resulted in $150,000 in damage.
  • A traffic study of the Vanderhoof and Van Buren roads intersection completed by the city’s Road Department has indicated that neither a traffic signal nor a four-way stop is warranted at the location, but city officials have made some safety upgrades after a flashing light came down in the area after a storm. The intersection has had some serious accidents, according to Bollas.
    To address safety issues, the size of the stop signs and signs warning of a stop sign ahead in each direction have been increased in size, and blinker stop signs were added in both directions on Van Buren Road. Also, vegetation at the intersection was cleared to improve sight distance. In addition, the Road Department will continue to monitor the intersection closely.
  • Bollas stated in honor of Sylvia Thomas’ 100th birthday, he delivered a proclamation declaring Feb. 11 as Sylvia (Williams) Thomas Day in perpetuity. She is the second person in the city to be so recognized, after Mary Lucretia (Miller) Phelps, who turned 112 Aug. 5. Phelps died Nov. 19, 2012.
  • The Manchester Education Foundation, which was formed recently, is planning a fundraiser run on Labor Day, Sept. 2, with details to come.
  • Resident Robin Aikey, who recently completed Community Emergency Response Team training, suggested officials develop local teams, which would know the city best, to respond to disasters in the city. For details, visit www.ready.gov or www.ohioresponds.gov.

The next regular Council meeting will take place March 20 at City Hall, 5611 Manchester Road, beginning at 6 p.m. for Committee-of-the-Whole meetings and continuing immediately after for the regular meeting.

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