​SUD Selects Auditor; Signs EMA Contract

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
Audit manager Don Mills with the newly formed accounting firm the MG Group addressed the Sewanee Utility District Board of Commissioners at the Oct. 24 meeting.
“The MG Group retained the bulk of the staff from the former firm Allen, McGee and Associates (AMA),” Mills said.
SUD’s five-year contract with AMA to perform the annual audit had one year remaining.
“As a new firm we can do another year of that contract,” Mills said. “Or, as a new firm we’d love to have another five-year contract.”
Of particular interest to the board was not being cited for “inadequate segregation of duties,” an audit finding frequently received by small utilities who lacked the staff to provide the required degree of financial oversight and lacked the resources to hire additional staff. In April, SUD hired Tennessee Utility Assistance (TUA) to perform a monthly review of financial transactions. The Tennessee Association of Utility Districts (TAUD) recommended TUA to small utilities hoping to avoid the “inadequate segregation of duties” finding.
“We’ll come in and test it,” Mills said, speaking favorably of TAUD’s recommendation.
The board decided to retain the MG Group for the 2018 audit and defer the decision about another five-year contract until next year.
SUD Board President Charlie Smith reported signing the contract with the Franklin County Emergency Management Agency authorizing installation of a radio antenna on the SUD farm tank. The board provisionally approved the installation in August, pending review of the contract. At the September meeting, Smith questioned whether SUD should be added to the contract as “additional insured.” Smith conferred with SUD’s attorney Don Scholes about the issue. Scholes felt the contract was adequate, Smith said.
Updating the board on the waterline replacement project, SUD manager Ben Beavers said line replacement on Florida Avenue and South Carolina Avenue was completed except for the tie ins and testing. The contractor was now working on the North Carolina Avenue section. Although running behind schedule, Beavers predicted the project would be completed by Christmas. The Florida Avenue section, completed first, has been reseeded and the grass was coming up, Beavers noted.
In conjunction with tying in meters to the new line, SUD will install all new meter setters, which prevent backflow.
If the residential service line the meter setter will be attached to is not in good condition, SUD will ask the customer to replace it. If the customer fails to replace the line, SUD will replace it at the customer’s expense.
“We’ll have to bill them,” Beavers said.
Two commissioner seats will come open for election in January, an at-large seat now held by Randall Henley and the single Marion County seat now held by Ronnie Hoosier. Candidates must be SUD customers and, in the case of the Marion County seat, reside in Marion County. The only prerequisite to becoming a candidate is announcing one’s intention to the board. No petition signatures are required. Commissioners receive a $50 per meeting stipend. Individuals interested in seeking election should contact Beavers at (931) 598-5611.