The Conway City Council will meet at 5:30 p.m. today to discuss authorizing an accounting firm to do an audit of city finances.
In the special meeting, to be held in the District Court building at 810 Parkway St., the council will also consider a five-year financing arrangement to pay for a mechanized recyclables sorter.
The sorting machine was approved for purchase last year by a council that had been told more than $4 million was in the sanitation fund reserve. This number had been artificially inflated by city finance staff through the improper inclusion of a landfill closing fund controlled by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. City Chief Financial Officer Robin Scott resigned in the days after this error, along with an similarly exaggerated general fund reserve, was noticed by city officials in February.
The council will not be voting on the $350,000 purchase of 12 patrol cars for the Conway Police Department tonight. Like the sorting machine, the patrol cars were to be purchased out of the artificially inflated sanitation fund reserve, and would, like the purchase of the sorter, draw the reserve down to a possibly unmanageable level. The solution proposed by Mayor Tab Townsell and green-lighted by a previous council resolution is to pay for the sorter and cars through 5-year financing, leaving the sanitation reserve intact.
Unlike the sorter, however, the patrol cars had not been placed on order, and this order may be amended at the council’s discretion — but this will be a decision for another day, according to Townsell’s assistant, Jack Bell.
The council will also vote on authorizing an audit committee comprised of aldermen and headed by Alderman David Grimes.
The language of the resolution concerning the audit arrangement gives aldermen the choice of whether or not to engage Thomas and Thomas LLP Certified Public Accountants for the job, Grimes said, though on Friday an audit proposal was received from Leek and Associates PLLC CPAs/Consultants and on Monday Townsell forwarded this proposal to Grimes.
Grimes said that the question of whether the council could consider this competing proposal after deciding by resolution to pursue an agreement with Thomas and Thomas would be one for City Attorney Mike Murphy to answer tonight.
(Staff writer Joe Lamb can be reached at 505-1238 or by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit.)