The Harker Heights City Council heard a report on the city’s finances during its regular meeting Tuesday — and the news was generally good.
Dane Legg, a representative from Lott, Vernon and Company, P.C., presented the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the 2016-17 fiscal year. The report included governmental funds, general funds, debt service and capital projects.
Legg described the report as “clean” in auditing terms, meaning that it is in compliance with all accounting principles.
A snapshot of the audit of the governmental funds portion included:
(1) Total assets of $25.4 million, up $6 million over last year.
(2) The biggest reason for the increase is the issue of $5.1 million in new bonded debt during the fiscal year.
(3) Total liabilities are $6 million, up $1.9 million due to other funds of $2.9 million.
(4) Strong fund balances are $18.7 million, up $4.1 million.
(5) Unrestricted fund balance is at $10 million. It’s a little over 50 percent of the total fund balance but it does represent six months of operating expenses and that is more than ideal for a city, according to Legg.
The audit and Comprehensive Annual Financial Report will be submitted to the Government Finance Officers Association to determine its eligibility for the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Program. The city has received this award 23 years in a row.
Council members also received a report regarding the Harker Heights Police Department and Harker Heights Fire Department’s racial profiling data for the calendar year 2017, as presented by Police Chief Mike Gentry.
“The Harker Heights Fire Department is also a law enforcement agency but because they do not make traffic stops as a regular part of their duties, they are exempt for the requirements to report racial profiling data,” Gentry said.
From information submitted electronically to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, total stops made by HHPD totaled 4,205. The number of motor vehicle stops were 3,941-citation only, 195-arrest only with 69 receiving a citation and being arrested.
Among that number of stops, the report indicated the following race or ethnicity: African-1,491, Asian-145, Caucasian-1,766, Hispanic-746, Middle Eastern-1 and Native American-56.
“The Native American category number is not accurate but is due to a decision by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement to just lump unknown ethnicities into a category of choice because their form does not include a space for Native Americans,” Gentry said. “I inquired about this issue with the commission and they directed me to put those numbers where I wanted and that’s why the Native American number is so high,” Gentry said.
Race was known prior to the stops in five cases. A search was conducted in 46 of the stops. Of those stops, 15 were consensual with 31 based on probable cause.
Gentry said, “Since 2001, the HHPD has recorded every traffic stop through audio and video technology. It allows us an exemption from a more complex reporting process required by departments who do not record stops.”
In other action, council members approved a contract be signed between the City and the Killeen Independent School District to conduct a joint election on May 5 and early voting for a council member election and the KISD bond election.
The signing of a contract with Bell County was also approved to use the county’s election equipment and that a contracting officer furnish certain election equipment needed by the City for the May 5 Municipal Election.
Following a closed meeting, Councilman Steve Carpenter made a motion to appoint Joseph M. Welch to replace Austin Ruiz on the Planning and Zoning Commission and Building and Standards Commission.