Treasurer calls for city to go into ‘survival mode’

 

Jeanette Trask, Ely’s City Treasurer sent a letter dated July 6 to Mayor Melody VanCamp, City Council members and the City Administrator Bob Switzer addressing concerns with the city’s general fund.

Trask was hired on with the city on March 27. Since then she has spent the majority of her time correcting severe financial errors that have occurred over the last few years.

Several grants had revenue and expenses recorded incorrectly. The Stryker grant, which is a grant specific to EMS and Fire, had an expense in the amount of $32,785.50 that was recorded incorrectly to the fire department supply expense account.

Trask noted in her letter that all grants should have separate revenue and expense accounts that balance to each other at the end of the fiscal year.

Assessment fees payable to the State of Nevada in the amount of $25,589 were being charged to the courts general fund expense causing the courts supply expense and the payable account in the Assessment Fund to be overstated.

The new room tax from the White Pine County Tour and Rec Board of $6,037.69 was recorded as revenue in the street fund that had to be corrected and recorded into the Capital Improvement Fund.

The Capital Credit refund in the amount of $8.973.86 from Mt. Wheeler Power was recorded as revenue to the general fund and had to be re-coded to the water and sewer fund since they consume the most power in the city.

The biggest amount noted was $81,862.64 from the general fund miscellaneous revenue that was miscoded in the accounts receivable process and had to be corrected and transferred to the Water Fund revenue.

Concluding the letter, Trask noted that she had to correct and transfer over $162,465 of revenue out of the general fund to other funds causing the beginning fund for the fiscal 2018 to be overstated.

She also indicated in her letter that according to her corrections the projected ending fund balance for fiscar year 2017 will be closer to $125,000 instead of the approximate $200,000 state in the budget for fiscal year 2018. Trask suggested that the city go into survival mode with an “as need policy.”

For several years it appears that when the budget was prepared, the estimated total revenue budgeted for the the general fund was expensed in total, meaning that they budgeted to spend all of the revenue.

It appears that department heads were allowed to spend what was budgeted even though the actual revenue came in much lower. Revenue was never adjusted to actual revenue, which meant that more money was being spent than what was being received, resulting in a fund balance that is currently in dire straits.

There is no doubt financial concerns have seemed to have been growing over the years. Since Trask resigned in August of 2013, several different people held the position, which may be a contributing factor to the recent financial concern.

Jennifer Rogan was selected to be the Treasurer in August of 2013, and lasted a year when allegations of insubordination arose. Rogan, who later became  Jennifer Winkle, resigned in August of 2014.

In September of 2014, Robert Switzer was hired on as City Clerk, and was quoted in the Ely TImes that his first order of business was to make sure all of the city’s accounts are “under order.”

Shona Moseley was selected as the Ely City Treasurer in 2016 in what only lasted for a few months. Trask was re-hired in March of 2017. Trask’s letter has been added to the city council meeting agenda for discussion and possible action at the meeting scheduled for Thursday, July 13, 5 p.m.

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Comments

  1. I would like to know how all of these budget mishaps got past the treasurer, administration, council and mayor. All of this has been kept out of the public eye and it appears the city has been in shambles since they cleaned house in 2013. Maybe cleaning house was not in the best interest of the city as now the residents will end up paying for the damage done. So are the rumors of the most recent treasurer before Trask embezzling true? Once again something that the public never heard about. I think the whole city government should be analyzed and this all seems real shady for as many hands that should be in the pot approving such a mess.

  2. Catherine says:

    Sara, I think you hit the nail on the head. The “clean up of 2013” wasn’t in the best interest of the citizens of the City of Ely. I suppose we can all go back and thank the council members (Marty Westland, Dale Derbidge, Randy Lee, Sam Hanson, Bruce Setterstrom) who unceremoniously fired a qualified City Administrator, for personal reasons might I add, who had successfully kept the City in the black when many other government entities around us where going in the red.

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