Monday, January 14, 2019

Ogden Village Board to transition to new accounting firm

In a split decision during their regular session on January 3, the Ogden Village Board voted to retain the services of Royal Accounting in St. Joseph to handle their accounting and bookkeeping functions effective in February.

The change comes after an independent audit questioned how some Village assets were classified in recent financial statements by the current vendor.

"I think the Village should seek other options," said Trustee James Haan, who said he was former Certified Public Account while reading a prepared statement to the board before the call to vote.

During his presentation he highlighted his concerns and his personal commitment to ensuring Ogden received the best services it can from its vendors. He then introduced Mary Schmitz, President of Royal Accounting, LLC, who gave a brief presentation and fielded questions from the trustees.

In the discussion following Schmitz presentation, Trustee Sue Esposito lobbied for the board to continue its relationship with Puzey & Wright since it was a business local. Trustee Kelly Cooper echoed Esposito's position and was not a proponent of using a vendor outside the local business community.

"I don't think our bookkeeping has been getting the quality that we should be getting," Trustee Haan responded. He told fellow board members that his purpose was "... to protect the people I was elected by to protect."

After considerable dialog about the possible annual savings in accounting fees, Schmitz's experience in public accounting and the advantages of moving to a direct deposit payroll process, the Board voted 4-2 to discontinue their relationship with Puzey & Wright and retain the services of Royal Accounting.

On a related agenda item, the board ratified a motion 5-1 to diversify the Village's investment of liquid assets. Instead of investing in a single certificate of deposit for $300,000, the trustees agreed to equally split $225,000 into three 12 month certificate of deposits earling 2.5%. The move would mitigate penalties and fees should the Village needed to access funds due to an unforeseen emergency.

The trustees also unanimously agreed to purchase a new handheld device for the public works department to read meters.




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