3/30/2018 2:26:00 PM Shafer Council gets good news from auditor
Shafer City Council met March 20 for a regular meeting. All members were present with 12 in attendance.
The meeting began with Dennis Oberloh representing Oberloh and Associates discussing the recently completed audit of Shafer. Oberloh skimmed through the audit fairly quickly and directed the council to a deficiency internal control. Oberloh pointed out that each and every audit he has done with Shafer has noted this. The reason being, there are only two city hall employees which triggers an automatic deficiency alarm.
Oberloh then referenced Shafer’s financial situation. Oberloh noted that total receipts grew from $581,585 in 2016 to $638,649 in 2017. Taxes included a raise by $41,885. Total disbursements were also up from $546,722 to $574,620 in 2017. This is attributed to the first road project which was completed in 2017.
Oberloh told the council Shafer was operating its general fund balance at a rate of 66 percent. A city is recommended to maintain a percent of 35 to 50 percent balance meaning Shafer is in good shape and should have adequate cash flow.
Oberloh also pointed out receipts from the water utility fund were in the black for the first time in five years in the amount of $37,296. In regards to the sewer utility fund the bottom line increased to $53,933 from $4,301.
The council thanked Oberloh and unanimously accepted the audit.
The council then unanimously passed a request from the former owners of Eichten’s restaurant for the refund of the liquor license that will not be used now that there are new owners nd they have paid. The value of the refund is $1,814.40.
The council then approved the hiring of maintenance worker Robert Neil. Neil will be hired subject to passing a drug test and has a six month probation period. The council then heard from State Representative Bob Dettmer. Dettmer told the council it was an honor to serve them and Shafer. Dettmer explained all of the committees he sits on including the Veterans Committee which passed 18 bills in 2016 and got rid of income tax on Veteran’s pensions.
Dettmer also serves on the Tax Committee which he said is very challenged this year. Dettmer explained how it is a bonding year so the requests this year are extra high to the tune of four billion dollars. He noted Shafer was request for wastewater treatment assistance was rated 284 out of 302 requests priority-wise for the $1.5 billion alloted for cities.
Dettmer told the council he also sits on the MNLARS Committee which is responsible for the online registrations and licensing. Dettmer noted the state has already spent $100 million on the upgrade and they are looking for another $10 million. Dettmer told the council he told them to find the $10 million on their own.
Dettmer then said he was working to get a bill passed that will change charitable gambling taxes to be paid on net instead of gross, as it is now.
The council then briefly discussed forming an events committee which has been discussed at prior meetings. The committee wil include two council members, two residents, and two firefighters. Terms will be one year long. The council will hold a public hearing at the second meeting in April.
In the engineer’s report, city engineer Lucas Jones told the council he had only received one bid for televising the Shafer Oaks project. “I feel comfortable with their price when I compare them to prior prices Shafer has paid” Jones said. Mayor Dan Vogel made a motion to accept a bid from Pipe Services at 60 cents per foot which passed unanimously.
The council then discussed the 2018 street maintenance phase. The intent is to address Buffalo Ridge and seal and fix where needed. City finance representative Richard Hill told the council they have around $82,000 available in Shafer’s road maintenance fund. Hill did note that oil prices are favorable which means blacktop prices are lower which means the number of cities and towns looking to repair their roads will be up considerably this season. Hill suggested Shafer either try to move in the spring or wait until late summer to avoid the rush and thus higher bidding.
Lastly, Maintenance Supervisor Dan Cooper told the council the truck was on its way and sitting on a train in Cottage Grove. The truck should be delivered within a week.