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Monessen’s financial health is starting to show some improvement.

That was the word from Cypher & Cypher, which presented Monessen’s 2018 audit during the council’s monthly meeting Thursday evening.

According to Daniel Starceski, CPA, the fund level statements revealed that in 2018, the city had total revenues and financing sources of $3,887,914. Total expenses and financing uses came to $3,911,125. That brought the net change in fund balance to $23,211, excluding a $63,088 expense for the amount due to the police pension.

“I want to make it clear that without that police pension that was due, we would have been up $40,000,” said Acting Mayor and Councilman Tony Orzechowski. “We would have had a positive for the first time in a long time.”

Starceski stressed that the fund balance is important because it gives the city working capital and the ability to plan for the future. The fund balance also enables the city to respond to emergencies, such as flooding.

“We recommend that you allocate between 5 and 15 percent of your current budget for the fund balance,” he said. “We’d like to see you get that to about $400,000 or about 10 percent of your budget.”

Starceski added that Monessen’s fund balance has been gradually improving.

“You’ve been sitting at a deficit for a long time, but there was a big turnaround in 2015, and the fund balance is slowly creeping back up,” he said.

Council members pledged to continue working hard to further improve Monessen’s financial standing.

“We still have a ways to go, but we are moving in the right direction,” said Orzechowski.

The City of Monessen plans to post the 2018 audit on its website in the near future.

Also during the meeting, council passed a motion directing Orzechowski to call for the certification of the civil service test for four part-time officers who have already taken their civil service tests. This will allow council to promote those officers to full-time positions. Council is expected to vote on those promotions during a special public meeting that will be held during the first week of September.

In addition, council authorized city administrator Judith Taylor to advertise for part-time police officer positions, including advertisements for civil service testing as required.

In other business, council:

  • Passed a motion to advertise a public hearing that will be held Sept. 12 at 3 p.m. to take public comment on the FY 2019 CDBG program. The housing, community development and economic development needs of Monessen will also be discussed at that meeting.
  • Approved a request from Monessen/Rostraver Rotary Club to host the third annual Zombie 5K Run/Walk on Oct. 19.
  • Approved a request from the Italian Society of Mutual Aid to use the Herman Mihalich Boat Launch for a car show on Oct. 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a rain date of Oct. 27.
  • Hired Lloyd Aldrich as a part-time assistant to the Code Enforcement Office at a rate of $9 per hour.
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