TCOG receives clean audit report
By William C. Wadsack
During its regular meeting Thursday, the governing board of the Texoma Council of Governments received a completely clean audit for the fiscal year that ended in April.
The accounting firm of LaFollett & Abbott PLLC in Tom Bean performed TCOG’s financial and compliance audit for the fiscal year that began May 1, 2014 and ended April 30.
“It’s good news,” Finance Director Stacee Sloan said. “This year, we have an audit with zero findings and that has not been done since 2006.”
Susan LaFollett said her firm issued opinions on TCOG’s internal controls over its reporting practices and on its federal and state programs, and there were no findings on either opinion.
“Basically, the TCOG has it together,” LaFollett said. “I would call it a successful audit with no problems.”
Executive Director Susan B. Thomas praised Sloan and her team for their efforts in getting the agency a clean audit.
“It was one of my priorities and she made it her priority and we got there this year,” Thomas said. “I can’t say enough about Stacee and the amount of time and effort and dedication you have (put in) to making this happen.”
The board accepted the audit report and authorized payment to the audit firm and distribution of the report to grantor agencies.
Sloan also gave a status update on the current fiscal year budget and told the board the proposal she recently received for modernizing the building’s elevators was higher than the $90,000 approved. So she said she’s working to get that number down in line with what the board previously approved.
The board also approved TCOG’s Municipal Solid Waste Cooperative Reimbursement contract with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
“This is the program that funds the municipal solid waste program here,” Michael Schmitz, geographic information systems and planning program manager, said. “This program funds our household hazardous waste event, which we hold every two years and is a very successful program throughout the region.”
Pass-through grants from TCEQ provide funding to promote recycling, stop illegal dumping and work to reduce the amount of waste in landfills.
“This program also helps us fund education throughout the region,” Schmitz said. “This year we were able to purchase environmental models that we’re going to take to some local schools.”
The contract totals $230,000 for fiscal year 2016 and fiscal year 2017, with $115,000 slated for each year.
“We are also fortunate to have generous other colleague COGs (because) based on the formula, our allocation would actually be less than this and result in a number that’s not functional to keep the program alive,” Thomas said. “So some of the larger COGs subsidized the smaller COGs and willingly redistribute that money so we maintain full statewide coverage of the MSW program.”
The board saved 2 percent on 9-1-1 maintenance and support from AT&T for TCOG’s 9-1-1 Program by approving prepayment of $58,682.40 for services.
“Each year we pay AT&T maintenance on our 9-1-1 equipment,” CJ Durbin-Higgins, public safety program manager, said. “They come out all hours of the day and night, 365 days a year if we have any kind of issues. They also do proventative maintenance as well.”
TCOG provides management and planning support for 9-1-1 public safety answering points at the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office, Bonham Police Department, Whitesboro Police Department, Fannin County Sheriff’s Office, Gainsville Police Department and Cooke County Sheriff’s Office.
Interlocal agreements for geographic information systems services were approved with Cooke and Fannin counties and the cities of Gunter, Van Alstyne and Whitewright.
“They each have different service levels that we do offer,” Schmitz said.
Gunter, Van Alstyne, Fannin and Cooke counties will be receiving GIS services. Cooke County will also be getting addressing and mapviewer services, while Fannin and Gunter will also receive addressing service. Van Alstyne and Whitewright will have addressing, data development, data maintenance, pictometry online and custom flex mapviewer services.
For one year of services, the GIS Program will receive reimbursements from each of those entities. Van Alstyne will pay $12,000. Whitewright will pay $7,000. Gunter will pay $2,000. Fannin County will pay $23,000. And Cooke County will pay $28,000.
The board also ratified the Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program contract with the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs to have TCOG administer the program for seven East Texas counties. TDHCA requested TCOG oversee the program for the remainder of the calendar year for the counties of Delta, Franklin, Hopkins, Lamar, Rains, Red River and Titus.
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