ENNIS – For the 26th year, the city of Ennis has received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.

The award announcement was part of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2008. Reviewing the report, City Manager Steve Howerton said the annual audit revealed no compliance issues and found the city in “very good financial condition.”

“In 2008, we began a very conservative expenditure program, preparing ourselves for a lean economic period. This conservative posture gave the city the largest fund balance in the history of the city of Ennis,” Howerton said.

The large fund balance will prepare the city in the event of economic downturns where property and sales tax revenues could decline, he said.

Areas highlighted in the report by Howerton included governmental funds, general fund budget and capital assets.

The fund balances are well within acceptable percentages and the city’s bond rating has maintained its good status, he said.

During a workshop session prior to the regular meeting, the commission heard a presentation by Kelly Echard of Hope Clinic.

Echard’s presentation outlined the clinic’s plan to apply for federal funding and obtain federal qualified health center status. The Waxahachie-based clinic provides health and preventative care services primarily for people who have no insurance coverage.

“Ellis County has an estimated 33,000 persons without insurance. ‘The current staff saw 4,200 patients in 2008,” she said, noting that about 25 percent of Ellis County residents fall below the poverty level.

‘The next (available) appointment would not be until April 17 for a new patient,” Echard said, illustrating the need for additional medical staffing and an enlarged facility. 

After reviewing the processes required for the application for the FGHC grant, she asked the commission for a letter of support and participation from the commission on the clinic’s planning committee.

“I would support giving a letter of support from the commission. I would also encourage support with planning committee participation,” Mayor Russell Thomas said.

Other action by the commission included approval of a public facilities use permit for the 2009 Polka Fest Walk/Run as requested by the Rotary Club.

Commissioners also unanimously approved an interlocal agreement between the city and Ennis ISD that Caesar Street be expanded to serve transportation, campus access and related needs to the school district and the community.