Council hears audit details

WELCOME — The Welcome City Council met on Tuesday evening. The council received a good audit report from Burkhardt Auditors, Greg Burkhardt and were given a clean audit report which means the facts are as reported. He reminded the council to ask about things that do not seem right and to make sure they understand adjustments made for efficiency. Three areas he mentioned that may need some improvement were: Payments from customers; understanding funds net worth; and the deficit in the water fund. The financial situation was very good with healthy and significant increases especially in 2022 and the Debt Service, Economic Development and Tax Reserve (how much it has to run city on if emergency occurs) fund balances. The general fund was very very good. The budget was over since the City made good investments, received grants and made important purchases. The Enterprise fund which included the Utility Funds should be operated like a business with profit after paying salaries and expenses. The water fund has had deficits which the council explained from water tower expense and meters and other improvements that had to be done. The Auditor suggested loaning the water fund money from the general fund. The sewer fund is in better shape than the water fund despite some increases. Overall the financial situation of the City of Welcome looks good.

Moving to other matters, the Snyder Tree service did 50+ trees for the City property Emerald Ash Borer clean up, now the council has to get busy deciding which trees should be replanted. The trees must be two inches in diameter and eight feet tall and one must be planted for each tree removed according to the grant received from the DNR. A letter to the residents will be coming explaining which trees are available and whether they want to plant one, they can not be planted in the boulevard but must be on the resident’s land. The City plans to replant trees in the Parks. The clerk and City utility worker will call Drummers and see what trees may be available.

Mike Johnson from Hometown Sanitation presented a proposed contract for the next three years with increases in the amounts charged of about 3-5 dollars depending on the size of the container. That would take the amount to $16.47 for a 35 gallon box and $19.10 for a 65 gallon container and $23.39 for a 95 gallon box. He said this is still not an overly large charge due to the price hike in everything. The council praised the company for their service especially communicating when there would be a schedule change and not charging for park and festival days.

Judd Schultz from MVAC reported on some loans. He recommended approval of a refinancing

subordination loan since the house was in good shape and worth more than the loan and the only reason was the high interest needed to be lowered to help the resident. The council approved the loan application.

The City worker report included the siren needs to be fixed so it will go off when all County sirens go off. The LEC has to trip it now. The Century Company will be contacted about the programming chip and what needs to be fixed. The locator stick also lost power and will be fixed, meanwhile they are using the old one.

Travis Winter, an engineer from Bolton and Menk, discussed the street repair and sewer, water and storm sewer repair/replace project for Welcome in the coming years. Planning needs to be done early for the future. He reported that the prices are high but seem to be leveling out. If they plan now they perhaps can phase in a rate increase for the infrastructure. He will report back at a later meeting.

The Police Commission held a meeting just prior to the city council meeting and Police Chief Yochim reported that they cancelled the PERA for part-time employees. The rifle order was cancelled and an order from SWS Rifles was approved. Chief Yochim had a successful review at a closed session. He also reported that the part-time officer is still in training and they hope to have her do solo service in May. Council members reviewed the police report.

In other business, the council:

— Approved a resolution for a public hearing on the proposed housing program revenue note with Vista Prairie for senior housing.

— Approved the Mayor’s signature on the TAFT letter.

— Accepted with gratitude donations to the Welcome Fire Department from Gordon Salisbury Jr. and Shirley Amland for Larry Bergemann.

The next meeting of the Welcome City Council is scheduled for 6 p.m. on May 7, at the city hall in Welcome.


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