A clean audit for Hancock

HANCOCK – Members of the Hancock City Council learned Wednesday the city’s 2012 audit was generally positive, with a few exceptions.

During the council’s regular meeting, Bruce Rukkila, of the accounting firm of Rukkila Negro and Associates in Houghton, said he reported a clean audit with no problems for the city.

The general fund is about $100,000, Rukkila said.

“That’s an improvement overall of $40,000,” he said.

Rukkila said the audit included about $6.2 million in federal money, mostly for sewer and water upgrades.

“It’s about the same as last year,” he said.

The city’s financial situation is stable overall, Rukkila said, although some of the city’s budgets were in deficit.

“You are adjusting those as you go along,” he said.

Rukkila said the city’s staff worked well with his staff as the audit was being done, and there were no concerns about compliance.

Council members unanimously approved accepting the 2012 audit.

Two of the budgets in deficit were the local street budget with a deficit of $23,298, and the parking meter budget with a deficit of $11,395. Council members unanimously approved a three-year deficit-reduction plan for those budgets.

City Manager Glenn Anderson said the local street budget had no deficit last year, and the parking meter budget will be phased out because the council voted last year to eliminate parking meters downtown.

At the December regular council meeting, members reviewed a petition of residents living near M-203 at the Hancock Beach and Campground asking for a reduction in speed limit there because they were concerned about the safety of people crossing the highway to go to the beach. At that meeting, Anderson told council members if the Michigan Department of Transportation did a study of speed limits on M-203 through the city, the speed limit could actually be increased depending on the results of the study.

A public hearing on the issue was on the agenda for the Wednesday meeting, but no one attended. Anderson said he sent an email to the signers of the petition and talked to the woman who initiated it, and he said she understood the situation.

Council Member John Haeussler said past city councils have dealt with the issue of the speed limit on M-203.

In 1969, Haeussler said MDOT did a study of the speed on the highway from Gino’s restaurant to the city beach, and in 1970, increased the speed to 60 mph, then later increased it to 65 mph.

“At that time, the city requested a 35 mph speed limit, and the state gave them a 65 mph speed limit,” he said.

Currently, the speed limit on M-203 at the beach and campground is 35 mph.

In other business, council members:

accepted a revised pamphlet about the city’s curbside recycling plan. It defines what is and is not allowed to be recycled.

approved the January 2013 Economic Vitality Incentive Program Compensation Plan concerning employee compensations.

reviewed and accepted committee appointments.

approved a resolution to accept applying for $41,440 in federal funds for a new bus for the city transit.