Although two members abstained, a resolution authorizing Mayor Michael Villa to enter into a $12,000 contract with Illinois-based Asset Control Solutions to complete a capital asset inventory for the City of Amsterdam was approved by three yes votes at yesterday’s regular meeting. The lack of an up-to-date inventory was cited in several of the most recent financial audit reports as a problem. Alderman Dave Dybas and Alderwoman Irene Collins both abstained on the vote.
The firm was recommended by Controller Matt Agresta at the last regular meeting on December 18, but the resolution to approve the contract was removed from the agenda due to concerns expressed by Dybas and Collins. Dybas had been particularly concerned that the inventory would comply with Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) statement 34 which specifies financial reporting requirements for state and local governments. Collins had expressed a desire to research other options for a firm, preferably one within New York State.
At yesterday’s meeting, Collins asked Agresta if he had looked at any other firms.
Agresta did not say whether he had contacted any other firms or not, but rather stressed that since the last meeting, he had looked at references for Asset Control Solutions from several municipalities including cities, towns, villages, and school districts and had spoken to officials from some of them directly.
“All of them said Asset Control Solutions was able to provide more information than was actually required to meet the GASB 34 standards,” said Agresta.
Later he added, “All of them still work with [Asset Control Solutions] and have been able to get the GASB 34 certification when giving that information to their auditors.”
He also mentioned that the president of the company was accredited by CPD to speak on the topic of GASB 34.
“I’m fully confident that they will be able to do the job in exactly the form that we need it done,” said Agresta.
Alderman Jim Martucello asked Collins, “Is the question the amount of money, or the people doing the job, or both?”
“Both,” said Collins. “It’s the $12,000, but then he had stipulations in the contract where if he did something else it’s going to cost this – to be discussed…there was a lot to be discussed as far as the expected cost.”
“I think the only to-be-determined was the thresholds that we have to set for the work that they’re going to do,” said Agresta, referring to a dollar amount that has yet to be decided on which will determine what assets are inventoried or not based on the asset’s value.
Later in the meeting, after both Dybas and Collins abstained, Villa challenged them as to why.
“Did you not have enough time to review this? It was brought up at the last meeting. Were your questions answered?” he asked
“No,” replied Dybas.
“In what manner?” asked Villa.
“Well, we asked for the likelihood of satisfying GASB 34 and to me that’s unanswered,” replied Dybas.
Agresta reiterated that the references he checked all said that the firm satisfied GASB 34 requirements for them.
“I don’t know why it would be any different for us,” said Agresta.
Villa said, “It’s been a couple weeks. You guys have to come in and ask the questions prior to the meeting and get your answers. And if you’re not satisfied, then we’ll get you the answers that will satisfy your inquiries. But to abstain is to not have knowledge.”
“That’s a true statement,” replied Dybas.
Before moving on to the next agenda item, Villa reiterated the importance of completing the inventory in order to comply with state requirements for financial reporting, noting that the inventory had not been updated in many years due to the city’s prior lack of accurate financial reporting.