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October 17th, 2019

10 8 19 dustin ormiston city commissionDustin Ormiston with Hay, Rice and Associates talks about the 2018 audit with the Liberal City Commission Tuesday evening. L&T photo/Elly GrimmELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


The Liberal City Commission had a light agenda for its most recent meeting Tuesday evening. 

Up first under new business for the commission was discussion of the 2018 audit results as well as the 2019 audit contract with Hay, Rice and Associates. Dustin Ormiston with Hay, Rice and Associates was on hand at the meeting to give the commission that information. 

“You all should have in your packets a copy of the audit report, it’s an unqualified opinion, which means there are no qualifications of instances abroad of misappropriation,” Ormiston said. “You should also have the management letter, which is self-explanatory. There are a couple items of interest from the financial statements themselves and we’ll go through those highlights tonight. Early on, you’ll see the balance sheet of the city, which is basically everything the city has and everything the city owes. The assets of the city include everything from cash receivables to land, etc. In another part of the statement is the liabilities, which is everything owed by the city and the major thing on that is your net pension obligation, and that’s basically the KPERS obligation. And even through that’s the biggest liability on your balance sheet, it’s the one you have the least control over – what it says is we’ve underfunded the pension liability by $10 million, but that amount goes up and down year to year depending on the amount paid into it by all the participants as well as what the state puts in and the earnings on the investments the city holds. And as I said, you have very little control over that.”

Ormiston went on to talk about other parts of the audit. 

“Another part of the audit is the activities, that includes all the revenue of the city, all the expenses of the city, expenses and things such as depreciation that are amortized over the life of assets,” Ormiston said. “So this is, in accounting terms, the most accurate statement as far as the operations of the city and you can look at each one and see what each one actually produces for the city or obligates to the city. An example of that might be the golf course – you can look at this to see what the course actually cost us in relation to the revenue it brings in. Any function we have listed here, that gives you an idea of what it costs, and it’s a pretty useful tool. The last thing I want to talk about is note six of your financial statements, and that concerns long-term debt – historically, this statement has been very strong whenever I compare the city to similar municipalities, our debt levels are relatively low in comparison to others. And with that, it’s one of those situations where you control it or it controls you, so as a commission, that’s something to continue to monitor as time goes on. I’m also happy to provide any additional information.”

After Ormiston’s presentation, the commission voted 4-0 to accept the 2018 audit, and also voted 5-0 to approve the 2019 audit contract with Hay, Rice and Associates. After discussion of the audit, discussion turned to some details related to next weekend’s Oktoberfest event.

“In your packet is a request for the Oktoberfest event that was submitted and received the commission’s consideration,” City Attorney Lynn Koehn began. “In looking through that and dealing with the zoning on this issue ... originally, the intent was Kris [Musgrave] wanted to put certain parts of it out in the street and I know he submitted the application to Alicia [Hidalgo] about a week and a half ago and in looking with everything, in order to have a function like this on a city street, they have to go before the Planning and Zoning Committee, get pre-approval to do that and then if they so recommend, it comes to the commission for approval. And that’s a whole different process and the regulations are different for it. Bottom line, those parts will have to be done inside for this year but if we do this event in the future, we need to be sure to get the application in sooner and do everything in a more timely manner. There are also some other things that we can take care of to make it all happen for this year, but they definitely need to be kept in mind for any future events.”

“So in essence, if we’re going to do our beer garden area, we have to do it inside the lodge and none of that outside, but everything else is good to go?” Musgrave asked. 

“Yes, that is correct,” Koehn said. 

The commission ultimately approved amending certain sections of Ordinance No. 4531 and approved cereal malt beverage licenses for the alcohol vendors at the event. 

There will also be a pair of new faces in City Hall. Liberal City Manager Calvin Burke announced Bruce Whittington will be taking over as the city’s Human Resources director, and Nick Rotolo will be taking the post of Sports Tourism Director. 

“Bruce has more than 20 years of HR experience and a master’s degree in Human Resources and a bachelor’s degree in psychology, so we’re glad to have him on board,” Burke said. “And most of you know Nick from around town, he’s going to be our sports tourism director. The goal of that is to help bring great sports tourism to the community and our goal for next year is to have between 10 and 20 sports-related events that will bring in many people from out of town who will spend the night in our hotels and spend money at our stores and restaurants and overall help promote Liberal. We’re looking to promote Liberal and I think the best way to do that is to get them to come here and show them what a great community this is.”

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