Accountants complete ‘unmodified’ audit for Mount Clemens

By: Dean Vaglia | Mount Clemens-Clinton-Harrison Journal | Published January 9, 2024

 City Manager Gregg Shipman speaks at the Dec. 18 Mount Clemens City Commission meeting.

City Manager Gregg Shipman speaks at the Dec. 18 Mount Clemens City Commission meeting.

Photo by Dean Vaglia


MOUNT CLEMENS — The county seat’s books are clean according to accounting firm Maner Costerisan at the Mount Clemens City Commission’s Dec. 18 meeting.

“The financial statements were an unmodified opinion, all in accordance with GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles),” said Jordan Smith, a principal at Maner Costerisan. “It’s a clean, unmodified opinion, the best possible opinion you can get.”

Mount Clemens holds a net position (difference between assets and liabilities) of $45.88 million, an increase of $7.67 million over 2022’s $38.2 million. Its revenues for the fiscal year came in at $30.41 million with $22.74 in expenditures. Major expenditures were public safety ($5.56 million) and the sewage disposal system ($5.1 million) while the largest revenue sources were property taxes ($7.83 million) and grants and other contributions ($5.07 million).

The city’s general fund increased by more than $1 million, growing from $13.81 million to $14.81 million and holding a fund balance of $9.13 million after liabilities are considered. The water and sewer funds improved over the fiscal year by respectively growing about $478,000 and $840,000. Post-employment benefits liabilities came in at $30.34 million, a sharp decrease from $51.74 million when it was created in 2017.   

The audit is the first one completed with consulting firm Plante Moran as the city’s financial manager. Plante Moran was brought in after the prior financial director was fired in spring 2023. A memo from Plante Moran was optimistic about the state of the city’s finances.

“The city continues to see financial gains and stability in almost all of its funds on an operational basis,” City Manager Gregg Shipman said, reading Plante Moran’s memo. “With the general fund showing a fund balance of ($9.13 million), the commissioners have the financial stability to explore opportunities of appropriating additional monies to programs and projects during the 2024-25 budget year.”

Included in the lengthy audit report were suggestions for how the city can further improve its financial standing, and City Commissioner Erik Rick shared his thoughts on how the city could increase its tax base.

“I do hope the planning commission and city staff look at moderately more permissive residential zoning to allow smaller lots that will allow a slightly more dense tax base without drastically changing the character of our neighborhoods,” Rick said.


Former commissioners recognized
Two former city commissioners were honored with resolutions at the start of the mid-December meeting, recognizing them for their commitment and involvement in Mount Clemens government and the community.

Glenn Voorhess and Rashida Hammond served on the City Commission until November 2023, opting not to run for reelection. Voorhess served as the city’s finance director from 1998 to 2002 and was a banker for 25 years at the First National Bank of Mount Clemens. Since leaving office, he has joined the retirement board as a citizen representative. Hammond, alongside her former role as a city commissioner and current role as a member of the Mount Clemens Housing Commission, is an administrator for Macomb County Head Start and an active member of the Greater Morning Star Church of Christ.


PFAS settlement
City commissioners also approved retaining the services of national law firm Edelson PC and local firm Goodman Acker for representation in an ongoing class action settlement surrounding PFAS contamination.

The lawsuit targets the chemical company 3M and its aqueous film forming fire suppressant product, with claims related to PFAS contamination of public water systems. Military bases, airports and industrial sites are places where the product was frequently used.

Shipman stated the city has “Everything to gain and nothing to lose” by joining the case as no payment is owed if the city does not receive any of the settlement funds.