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City of St. Helena

St. Helena’s latest financial audit shows another year of steady improvement ever since the city discovered a series of systemic flaws in its accounting practices.

The audit for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, conducted by Van Lant & Fankhanel, LLP, found two “material weaknesses.” That’s down from five “material weaknesses, nine “significant deficiencies,” and one “area of non-compliance” in the 2014-2015 audit.

Under Finance Director April Mitts, the city spent the next few years chipping away at that list by adopting new policies, improving internal controls, and segregating duties among city staff to create checks and balances.

The two “material weaknesses” highlighted in the latest audit were both corrected in late 2018 when the city adopted new accounting and debt management policies. Those corrections didn’t occur until the 2018-2019 fiscal year, so they were still flagged in the audit for the previous fiscal year.

“All of our policies are now taken care of,” Mitts told the City Council on Tuesday, adding that she will bring back the debt policies to be updated in light of a new state law regarding bond financing.

In other action, the council:

  • Gave staff direction on preparing a Request For Proposals (RFP) seeking consultants to perform community outreach and make initial need assessments regarding City Hall, the library, and a potential recreation building at Crane Park.
  • Introduced an update to St. Helena’s social host ordinance, which holds homeowners responsible for parties where underage youth consume alcohol, to include cannabis and other controlled and intoxicating substances.

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St. Helena Reporter

Jesse has been a reporter for the St. Helena Star since 2006.