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Pine River: Council learns from latest audit

The city of Pine River received a positive audit report from Chris Clasen with the firm Justin, Clasen and Company, as well as recommendations for improvement.

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The city of Pine River received a positive audit report from Chris Clasen with the firm Justin, Clasen and Company, as well as recommendations for improvement.

The auditor told the council that the city financial records are in order, though there are some protections that the city could improve. The city in the past has had internal control weaknesses pointed out, specifically issues with the diversification of duties and the council's decision to have the auditor review its financials rather than controlling them in house. These two weaknesses are common to most local cities due to limited staff and funding.

However, the auditor did find other areas where the city can improve. The auditor recommended the mayor sign documents by hand, or if necessary keep her signature stamp locked and secured at all times. In addition, the auditor indicated that the city has been paying some transactions using a debit card, and the state auditor's office frowns upon city use of debit cards.

The auditor recommended the city start using a credit card instead because a credit card adds another opportunity for approval or denial of expenses and claims, which acts as another layer of controls over city expenses.

The auditor also recommended assigning or committing unrestricted funds to future projects, and gave clerk Terry Dabill advice on filing practices.

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In other business, the council:

• Approved a new water reading system for up to $7,000.

• Approved a proposal naming the National Joint Powers Alliance as city zoning specialist.

• Approved a resolution supporting a Corridor of Commerce plan for the four-lane expansion of Highway 371.

• Approved an ordinance to allow a TDS internet television franchise in the city.

• Learned that city maintenance would like to sell city equipment, including a zero turn mower and a collection wagon. The council agreed to allow the sale if the value of the items is low enough to not require submission for bids.

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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