Selbyville receives top municipality rating on audit report

The Town of Selbyville has received the best report a municipality can get for their annual audit. The town council heard this week from Leslie Michalik of PKS & Company, P.A., who presented a formal review of the Town’s financial statements based on the audit for the year ending Jan. 31, 2013.

Michalik stated that, in the opinion of her firm, the Town’s financial statements were presented fairly, with PKS offering an unqualified or “clean” opinion — the highest level of assurance that they can give on audited financial statements. Michalik stated that they had performed the audit in accordance with government auditing standards and reported that they did not identify any instances in which the Town did not comply appropriately.

“We did not identify any material weaknesses,” she said, “and that is a good thing.”

She then went on to present financial highlights. In explaining the highlights, she stated that, going forward, the Town’s challenge is going to be closely monitoring their operating expenses.

“You are in fair financial condition,” she said, “but you are chipping away at your cushion.”

She explained that the Town is taking money from its utilities fund to support the general fund and said cutting expenses where they can could help them be closer to a “break-even budget,” so they would not have to do so.

Mayor Clifton Murray said Selbyville is like every other small town, in that they are suffering from a lack of growth and revenues are limited. He added, however, that there is also a lot of potential in Selbyville for future tax growth when the economy does improve.

“Are we in danger five years from now?” asked one citizen in attendance at the Aug. 5 meeting.

Michalik stated that they did not make any formal recommendations, but it is, she said, “something to watch.”

“We generally suggest you have 60 days’ worth of expenses in your general fund, and you are pretty close to that. It’s just about watching your expenses and eliminating operating losses.”

She also said the town was not unique and that “a lot of small towns have similar issues.”

Town Manager Bob Dickerson added that the Town “runs a tight ship.”

“There is not a lot of extravagance here. We are maintaining public safety,” something that Michalik had explained makes up half of the Town’s expenses. “We have reduced from eight officers to six, and there is pensions and health care, and we have cut back on that.”

He explained that the Town now pays just 65 percent of health care premiums for spouses and dependents, where they had been paying 90 percent, and they don’t pay any dependent care for new hires.

Dickerson said, “24-7 coverage is expensive.”

Mayor Murray added that the SPD is “a good department and are doing a good job.”

Also at the meeting, Sean Oates, owner of Murphy’s Bar & Grill, again requested an increase to the number of arcade games allowed in a business. The current limit is three per establishment, and Oates said he would like to add three or four more machines in the rear of his restaurant.

At their July meeting, the council had asked Dickerson to contact the town solicitor to see what would be involved in changing the ordinance to increase the number of arcade games allowed. Dickerson stated that the attorney had advised him that there were two ways to go about doing that: to permit mini arcades as a conditional use in connection with a restaurant or to make a generally applicable revision to Chapter 49 — Arcades in the code, to allow a limited arcade facility in restaurants. Dickerson stated that both options would require a public hearing.

Murray said the Town couldn’t make a commitment to such a change at this time but asked if the council wanted to pursue it. Councilman Bud Tingle asked how the machines are rated for age-appropriateness, and Councilman Frank Smith asked to see a floor plan of where they would go in the restaurant.

“We have got to be careful, and we have got to be able to control this to a certain degree,” said Mayor Murray.

The council agreed to consider Oates’ request. They asked him to provide a list of the type of games offered by the machine vendor, along with their guidelines and restrictions.

In other news from the Aug. 5 meeting:

• Dawn Lekites, who serves on the Board of Commissioners at the Selbyville Public Library, announced that they currently have two vacancies on the board. She encouraged anyone who is interested to stop by the library to pick up an application.

• Councilman Richard Duncan reported that the Town has been approached by the Town of Frankford about possibly partnering for their water service — water distribution and water treatment — and about sharing revenues and costs. He stated that he would get a copy of the proposed contract and see what would be involved. The mayor and council agreed it would be worth looking into and they could discuss it at a later date.