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Front Page » October 7, 2004 » Local News » Accounting firm audits special service district
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Accounting firm audits special service district

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Carbon Transportation and Recreation Special Service District has passed an independent audit.

Doug Rasmussen from Smuin, Rich and Marsing, reported Monday that, with a couple of minor variances, the special service district gets a "clean opinion on their financial statements."

The accounting firm audited of the district's books for the 2003 calendar year.

The audit document is a 33 page analysis of the special service district's assets and liabilities and how the items are handled by the board and administration.

The report stated, "In our opinion, the basic financial statements referred to above, present fairly in all material respects, the respective financial position of governmental activities and each major fund and remaining information of (the district) as of Dec. 31, 2003," stated the report.

The report highlighted the following financial data.

•The district's net assets increased $1,393,561 as a result of operations in 2003.

•Mineral lease revenue for the year ended Dec. 31, 2003 was $3,286,962. This was an increase of $683,559 from the year before.

•At the end of 2003 the district had $3,324,853 invested in a broad range of capital assets, including land, water stock buildings, improvements other than buildings and equipment.

•The district had long term debt of $8,443,559 in bonds and notes payable outstanding at the end of 2004. According to the report, total assets amounted to $8,785,958.

•The audit also revealed some "immaterial instances of noncompliance with" state laws and regulations, but nothing of any substantial measure.

One of the minor issues of non-compliance had to do with a contract the district signed on some property that was purchased and the way one clause in the contact was worded.

After the SSD board reviewed the discrepancy, it decided to have the auditors look over any kind of similar contract it may consider in the future before agreeing to it.

On another matter the board also heard from Jim Young, a former art professor at the College of Eastern Utah, who continues to produce bronze sculptures and other works as an artist.

"I have talked with a number of people on this board as well as the CEU Museum Board and voiced my concern that when you awarded money to the museum for a sculpture at the last meeting, an artist had already been selected," stated Young. "While I realize the funds you allocated come from mineral lease dollars, it is still public money. I just believe that when something like this is done, bidding should go to the qualified people in the area. I checked with the college and they said that they have to get at least two to three bids on anything they decide to purchase."

However, Young also said that when he pointed out that there were other people that would be interested in doing this kind of work in the area to members of both the SSD and museum boards, everyone was very apologetic about the fact that the bidding idea was overlooked.

"I do feel much better about the situation because I was told that everyone was looking at the overall picture and just wanted to get moving on the project," he continued. "I was told that eventually others would be involved as the projects to put art around the community evolved."

Young explained that the state of Utah has a rule that one percent of the cost of any building is to be used for art to accompany that structure. He said that when the state gets to the point where they want to commission that art, they send out proposals to artists that are on a list they registered to be on.

"That way everyone gets into the loop " he stated "However I think for what is being done in our area it should remain with artists from our area. And I certainly don't want to stick my feet in the spokes of this project at all, because the project is for the common good of the community."

Sam Quigley, a member of not only the Special Service District Board but also a member on the museum board said he wanted to publicly apologize to Young about the oversight.

"It's not this boards fault in any way," he said. "I just got ahead of myself with my enthusiasm for this project. To be sure we want to showcase all local artists around town."

The board then had a discussion on how bids on art could possibly be done, since it is such a subjective matter.

"I'm not sure you can competitively bid art," said Quigley. "Art is difficult to pick out; it's a choosing process."

Young said that generally those that want to put up art on a building or in a community have a committee that meets with artists and then the individuals who might want to work on the committee's vision has an idea of what is desired.

"Then the artist can give the group an estimate of what it would cost to produce what they want," he said. "It's really based more on a proposal than a dollar figure."

The board then thanked Young for bringing the bidding situation to their attention and said they would remind those that they grant money to in the future that they need to look beyond their immediate plans and consider all the alternatives when looking for people to perform services.

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