BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – A financial investigation of the North Lee County Historical Society will be a topic of discussion at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
An accounting firm out of Burlington, CPA Associates PC, conducted an independent accountant’s procedure review from July 1, 2016 to March 31, 2019 at the request of the city council in March after a tax payment issue resulted in penalties to the society.
Fort Madison City Councilman Rusty Andrews serves as the society’s treasurer. His father Andy Andrews is the current president of the group.
Rusty Andrews told the Pen City Current in March, he forgot to file a non-profit statement with the county, which resulted in the group having to pay increased property taxes on the Battlefield Park just east of Dollar General near 4th Street and Avenue H.
The society owns the Battlefield Park, which it purchased with private donations.
The review resulted in five recommendations including having the NLCHS board: create a policy to approve disbursements over a set amount; review monthly financials/reconciliations; have a person independent of the group’s financial records review bank statements monthly; should have someone independent of check signing and taking deposits to the bank, maintain financial records; and should make deposits in a more timely manner.
In other action, the council will consider the first reading of an ordinance that would allow golf carts, ATVS and UTVs on certain public streets in Fort Madison.
The ordinance would require operators to be at least 18 years of age, which is two years higher than the Lee County ordinance currently in effect. The ordinance also prohibits operations of the vehicles on “a city street which is a primary road extension through the city”. Vehicles would be allowed to cross those roads when necessary to reach permittable roads.
The vehicles would be required to be registered with the state Department of Natural Resources and Lee County and carry minimum insurance coverages of $50,000 bodily injury per person, $100,000 per accident and $50,000 property damage.
The city will also consider setting a public hearing to sell the trailer park on 15th Street south of Avenue I, to MM Real Estate, L.L.C. for $1. The city would abate all taxes once the property is tranfered to the city from Lee County, who holds the tax certificate on the land.
“We believe this is a win-win situation,” Varley said in a memo to the council.
“City Council has heard complaints about this nuisance property before. Under this agreement the property will be cleaned up with little to no cost to the city except for legal fees.”
Varley said those costs should be less than $5,000. He said the estimated cost for the city to clean up the property would be in excess of $50,000.