|4/16/2021 12:07:00 PM|
No surprises in audit
The 2020 audit was presented to Taylors Falls City Council Monday night this week, and the council was pleased to learn that accounting and budget practices pretty much stayed on track despite covid-19 and everything going virtual with new deadlines imposed. Mayor Mike Buchite commented that city spending was contained somewhat over a traditional year’s purchases, because council was uncertain how projected revenues from property tax payments would be affected. The audit shows no delinquency worries there.
Taylors Falls built its year end balance by several thousand dollars.
The Water Fund on its surface is showing some stress, however. Brad Faltysek, of audit firm Abdo Eick and Meyers suggested council monitor the fund. Mayor Buchite said that by July this summer, the impact of having replaced 50 water meters should be apparent in being able to bill more accurate readings. The city hasn’t increased water rates in 12 years, though, so officials will keep an eye on this fund, which ended 2020 below the minimum targeted balance.
Taylors Falls will see some debt paid off in coming years which is one of the performance indicators the audit tracks. The city has $1.25 million in bonds outstanding, but there’s a big dip in the liability covering tax abatement, as of 2023 and another decrease when city hall/fire department bonds are retired in 2029. Residents have long term debt of $1,499 per capita and comparable sized cities in the county were at $2,418 (these are 2019 numbers because not all comparison data is in for 2020 yet.)
The city’s fiscal shape was good enough to support the price of great used street sweeper deal.
MNDOT will sell Taylors Falls an Elgin Pelican for $30,000. Public Works Supervisor Mike Kriz has looked it over and supports the purchase. This is the last really good used one the state has to sell.
Council voted 5-0 to acquire the equipment and will use funds now in the Community Center account.
In other expenditures, the council accepted a quote from R.E. Peterson for sitework at the commercial lot downtown. The dirt being used for re-grading comes from the city business park. The cost is $17,800.
The city sign made of stone is crumbling and council took a repair quote from North Lakes Masonry for $1,500 to fix it.
A Conditional Use Permit for Joe and Ruth Stein for a solar array was approved 4-1. Council member Troy Aanonsen commented that the city already has plenty of solar.
Mayor Buchite remarked that it is a “challenge” to do what’s right and abide by individual property rights and also protect the city. Solar arrays are allowed in ordinance and “looking at it from a legal standpoint,” the applicant has every right to pursue the solar use of their property, he concluded.
This grouping is behind an existing array at 400 Herberg Road and probably won’t even be visible, added Council member Ross Rivard.
One citizen, Katherine Johnson, used the open microphone agenda item to express opposition. She called the solar arrays a “horrible blight.”