The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

May 1, 2013

Ashtabula puts 2 issues on ballot

By SHELLEY TERRY - sterry@starbeacon.com
SUBMITTED PHOTO

ASHTABULA — The City of Ashtabula is asking citizens to support two issues on May 7.

Issue 1 is renewal of the city’s 1.8 percent municipal income tax.

“We are required to renew our income tax every three years by our city charter,” City Auditor Dana Pinkert said. “Your tax dollars support city services like police protection, fire protection and fire ambulance emergency services.”

It also subsidizes many other city departments, such as the Health Department and Municipal Court.

The charter change, which is Issue 2, is designed to clean up ordinance language related to the finance department. It proposes to combine the departments of city treasurer and city auditor into one department of finance.

“This makes sensne because by combining these two deparments we will be able to pool our resources and steamline our operations to improve effficiency,” Pinkert said.

City Treasurer Lori Mackey said the current city charter sets up a system of dual control with the treasurer receiving payments and the auditor recording these payments in the city’s accounting system.

With the passage of Issue 2, the potential for duplication of efforts will be eliminated and payments will be recorded once; therefore will save time and improve efficiency.

The system of checks and balances will be maintained by strict segregation of finance department duties.

 For example, the person receiving payments will not create bank deposits; the person who makes the deposits will not reconcile the bank accounts. Once bank reconciliations are complete a member of management will review them for final approval.

“Issue 2 is a small common sense step necessary for Ashtabula to change an outdated method of operation to a more efficient one,” Mackey said.