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Chelsea Receives ‘Unmodified Opinion’ for Financial Audit

The Chelsea City Council held a Zoom work session prior to the regular City Council meeting on Oct. 18 to begin discussions about the police audit conducted by Bobcat Consulting. That discussion can be found here under city meeting videos.

The Zoom business meeting began with a presentation from two representatives from the city’s auditing firm Plante Moran. Dave Helisek told the elected officials that the city’s books once again received “an unmodified opinion, the highest level of assurance” for the year ending June 30, 2021.

In addition, he said he appreciated the work of the city’s whole financial team who assisted company representatives during the audit.  

Lizzy Addy went through a series of slides to show the elected officials the city’s financial positions in its various funds. (Please see this audit presentation at the end of the story.)

The general fund revenue showed an 11-percent increase (for an about $536,000 increase since 2020) in part she said due to a 3-percent increase in property taxes and a 4-percent increase in income from state and federal sources.

On the expense side, the city was about $205,000 under budget.

Also noted were slight increases in revenue for the water and wastewater funds due to new connections provided by the city as well as a slight increase in both revenues and expenses in the electric department.

The city’s fund balance stands at about $1.397 million, which Helisek said was the proper level for a city of Chelsea’s size, especially during these “somewhat trying times,” during which he also commended the city for continuing to provide a high level of services.

He also positively noted that city officials have maintained a continued focus on reducing Chelsea’s legacy costs – i.e., its employee pension and OPEB or health care fund contributions.

In 2019, the city was 73.8 percent funded in its pension fund and in 2021, that percentage has increased to 83.8 percent funded.

In its retiree health care fund, in 2019, the city stood at 66.3 percent funded, while in 2021 that percentage of funding has increased to 91.1 percent.  

The city held a public hearing for its 2021-2025 parks and recreation plan and about eight people spoke in support of the document and its goals, while also requesting more parkland/green space for additional sports and other outdoor activities.

Many of the speakers asked the city to consider partnering with an avid group of pickleball enthusiasts, who hope to find a outdoor location within the city for permanent courts.  

Mayor Melissa Johnson, who is also a member of the parks commission, reiterated the parks and recreation commission’s and residents’ support for additional green space and parkland in the city. She said a traditional measure of adequate parkland is 10 acres per 1,000 people. Chelsea should have about 55 acres of parkland/green space available for residents. Currently, there is only about 32 acres. She said the parks and recreation commission is working toward resident requests for more parkland/green space acquisition.

Approval of the new parks plan will assist the commission and the city apply for grant funding.

In council business, a request for a reduced rate of $35 to use Palmer Commons for a live nativity scene during Hometown Holidays on Friday, Dec. 3 was unanimously approved. (Council Member Charles Wiseley absent from the meeting.)

Also unanimously approved was an agreement between the city and Chelsea Milling Company to allow two sky bridges – one for people and one for a conveyor belt that will move product – between the existing building and a new warehouse facility.  

Also unanimously approved on second reading were a series of Zoning Ordinance map amendments and text changes.

Chelsea Police Chief Ed Toth reported that the department responded to 214 calls for service in September, which included 14 traffic crashes, 10 traffic stops and officers issued six tickets.

To listen to the full City Council meeting, please click here and go to meeting videos produced by Randy Lee, RK Studios.   

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