HALLANDALE BEACH - By Mayor Joy Cooper - Reviewing the City budget can be one of the most important things that can happen in August - Over the next few weeks, the City commission will be reviewing the City Manager's proposed budget in preparation of our City commission budget workshops in August. Our budget this year includes a full evaluation of the classification compensation for all employees. It has been many years since this level of comparison and analysis have been done. The study has gone over every title and task in every department and has compared position compensation and duties to other entities with the same make up.
Police and Fire have been a bit different than general when it comes to classifications and compensation. Their duties are defined by the nature of their jobs. There can be some variation due to specialized training and management, but the duties are fairly constant depending on rank.
When it comes to general and management employees, many duties and job descriptions have changed. Over the course of the past years, we have kept pace with growing demands by reclassifying employees and transferring duties between departments. This allowed us to maintain and improve the delivery of service without large tax increases.
With new technology combined with cross training in departments, employees now have multiple tasks. With the change in these duties job descriptions have not changed and quite often job titles do not fit the duties. Fair and just compensation is critical, but this study is not simply about compensation. It will define positions for the duties performed and allow for better and more accurate hiring practices. It will also provide for broader pay ranges within titles, so employees will have opportunity for advancement. The overall budget is and will remain predicated on the same tax rate as last year.
Many of our readers know every City goes through an annual audit. The audit is over the financial statements and internal controls over our financial reporting. Our City has received a cleaned report with limited findings. The first was repeated from the prior year, the second reporting of assets between the CRA, and the City, the other was the use of equitable sharing funds in the Police Department.
Over the past two and half years, we have experienced issues with the timeliness of our end of the month closing statements and bank reconciliations. These issues were created due to two main problems, the changeover to our new technology system and the changeover in our Chief Financial Official position who oversees the department. The CRA assets were recorded properly, however, the sale of assets were not recorded on the City side. These issues have been addressed by the management staff.
The other finding was unique when it came to our Police Undercover Fund. Equitable sharing funds are just that, shared from police activity from drug busts and arrests that are pooled from agencies that work together. The funds can be used for sting operations and for undercover “buys.” While the funds were used properly logged, it was found that they should have been an in a separated fund, not a petty cash fund. This matter has also been corrected. This year, with the completion of our migration to a new platform and the hiring of a new CFO, there should be limited, if any findings.
We have also finally changed our reporting of uncollectible EMS funds. For years, I have asked that we stop keeping these uncollectible funds on the books. EMS services are charged at a fee that represents the costs, but in reality, if the services are being reimbursed by insurance, they will never pay the full price. The collection rate is much less. The fees will now be recorded and adjusted when collected. We have also taken our accounts receivables that have aged and contracted with an outside collection agency. This should ensure that we are not leaving any money out in the field.
As always, please feel free to contact me any time with your questions/concerns and ideas on how to make our City a better place at my office: (954) 457-1318. On my cell/text at: (954) 632-5700. Or visit my web-site at: www.mayorjoycooper.com. If you are heading out of town and want to stay connected to our City issues, you can sign up for my weekly update. Have a Happy Hallandale Beach weekend! Please remember, it is Hurricane Season, so please be prepared!