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Clinton receives ‘clean opinion’ audit report

  • At the Monday, March 25 meeting of the Clinton City Council, Anderson County EMS Director Nathan Sweat recognized Clinton firefighters for their quick response in per- forming CPR in a recent emergency situation. Pictured left to right, are: Sweat, LT Dakota Hood, Firefighter Justice Malone and Firefighter Cole Allen. - Pete Gwada

  • Clinton Police Chief Vaughn Becker presented letters of commendation to police officers for their quick response in a recent emergency situation that required the use of CPR. Pictured left to right are: Becker; Greg McBroom, whose wife, Marty, was saved by the quick response of the police; Sgt. Larry Smith; and dispatcher Amy Jones. - Pete Gwada

At its Monday meeting, the Clinton City Council heard good news from its auditors.

The council also considered ordinances dealing with authorizing an administrative hearing officer, rezoning a portion of Aspire Park, allowing chickens in the city, defining junked vehicles, and adopting standardized building codes.

Gary Mitchell of the accounting firm of Pugh and Company presented the audit for fiscal year 2022-23, with a “clean opinion.”

He apologized because the report to the council was delayed due to “unforeseen circumstances,” however he said all deadlines had been met. He said the 150-page document recorded the accounting firm’s clean opinion of the city’s finances and added that there were no major discrepancies. He predicted, based on the audits figures, that the city’s debt would be paid off by June 2026.

In other financial matters, Chris Phillips, the city’s finance director, stated that as of Feb. 29, the city had collected 99% of property taxes.

He went on to say that the budget was at 77% of projected revenues and 81% of projected expenditures.

City Manager Roger Houk said that since July 1 the city has spent more than $4.5 million on equipment, pavement and projects.

Councilman Jim McBride noted that it was good to set aside money for purchases that the council knows will be necessary in the future rather than borrowing money at the time of the purchase.

The council passed unanimously on first reading an ordinance to establish an administrative hearing officer.

Building official Matt Widner said this officer would not take the place of the city judge, but would decide cases involving such things as environmental issues, code enforcement, building issues and zoning.

The administrative hearing officer would not handle violations of the fire code, but would have the authority to impose fines for other violations, and the property owner could request a hearing.

“It will definitely pay for itself,” Houck said of the proposed new office.

The council also passed on first reading an ordinance rezoning a portion of Aspire Park from B-2 (General Business Park) to P-1 (Aspire Park). Most of Aspire Park had already been zoned P-1.

The ordinance pertained to the property across the road from the park where the sign is located.

The reading passed on a split vote, with Councilman David Queener casting the lone dissenting vote.

An ordinance revising animal control regulations to allow for six hens under certain conditions passed on second and final reading with Queener casting the only dissenting vote.

Also passing unanimously on second and final reading were two other ordinances.

One redefined junked vehicles as everything that moves on its own or that can be pushed or towed, including boats.

The second adopted current versions of fire, building and housing standardized codes.

Superintendent of Schools Kelly Johnson said that the governor’s voucher bill, which the school system opposes, is working its way through committees and that the House and Senate versions of the bill have significant differences.

She announced that sixth-grade graduation would be held at the Clinton Community Center May 23 at 9 a.m. She also said that kindergarten and pre-kindergarten registration is underway.

The council approved a budget amendment for the schools recognizing a $49,500 federal grant for new programs for pre-kindergarten students.

The council also updated the fee schedule for towing disabled vehicles.

Because of conflicts, the May council meeting has been changed to May 28, and the July meeting to July 29.