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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Finances top issues handled by city council

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Monett City Council focused on financial issues, including wrapping up the 2009-10 fiscal year and unpaid bills at the airport, during the February monthly meeting last week.

With the current fiscal year closing on March 31, council members passed an amendment adjusting anticipated revenues and spending. Revenues were increased by $835,542, mostly because of approximately $651,000 in settlements with cell phone providers on unpaid back taxes, plus $85,185 in insurance payments following the May 8 wind storm and $55,266 in reimbursement from the Missouri Department of Revenue (MoDOT) for work done on Cleveland by city crews.

Expenditures rose by $767,250. City Administrator Dennis Pyle told The Times the total came from the $1.4 million in reimbursement from MoDOT paying off its share of the 2004 series bonds on the original tax increment financing (TIF) project widening Highway 60 around the Walmart Supercenter. The reimbursement had been expected on June 30, but the money came in August 2009. The early payment saved the city a year's worth of interest, Pyle said.

From the $1.4 million total, the city committed $300,000 toward upgrading the Automated Weather Observation Station (AWOS) at the airport, and $345,000 toward the sewer lift station as 2010 projects, leaving the balance.

Pyle said the remaining amount has been going into the new general fund reserve at a rate of $50,000 a month. The reserve will be built to a $500,000 total, available for emergencies and unexpected expenses.

Public discussion on the 2010-11 budget is scheduled fo rthe March 19 meeting.

Environmental study

Council members took action on three airport issues. The engineering firm of Bucher, Willis and Ratliff (BWR) received a contract to conduct the full environmental assessment necessary for the 20-year master plan, previously adopted by the council. The study will focus in particular on the land needed for the AWOS upgrade and other land considered for extending the airport.

Cost for the study is $65,800. Pyle said federal aviation funds will cover 95 percent of the cost, leaving the city's total expense at $3,300.

Unpaid airport leases

The council took action on two unpaid lease agreements, both involving David Gouldsmith of Golden Aviation. Gouldsmith was four months delinquent on his payments for using the eighth hangar in the 10-bay T-hangar unit. Gouldsmith and his partner, MS Flying Inc., were also in default on paying the land lease for the large private hangar built south of the terminal on the taxiway extending east to Highway 97. The city attorney was authorized to file suit for unlawful detainer.

The debt on the land lease, a total of $571 plus insurance, had ramifications. Pyle explained that a default judgment on the land lease would cause Gouldsmith and MS Flying Inc. to forfeit ownership of their hangar, paid for by private funds, to the city.

Notice of the city's pending action had been issued to both parties.

"This has been done after a lot of pondering," said Orr, "because of the opportunity for employment we thought was available for the citizens of Monett, which still could happen."

Utility rate changes

An ordinance phasing in the water rate increases previously approved by council members to pay for water system improvements was introduced. The rate scale in the ordinance puts a 40-cent increase in place on April 1 and a 43-cent increase effective April 1, 2011.

Utilities Superintendent Pete Rauch said the water system study by Allgeier, Martin and Associates calculated the city needed water rate increases of $1.23 to pay for all the projects planned. By next year, major water mains will have been built that would connect the east and west sides of the city system with a new treatment plant that will purify muddy well water.

Voters will then be asked to support construction of the long-planned treatment facility at the Rutherford farm. Rauch said he plans to explore different funding options.

A second ordinance was introduced raising the base rate for sewer service by $2 to match the water base. The change will go into effect with the April usage, showing up on the May billing.

Rauch said the change will raise an additional $96,000 a year that will be used to correct inflow and infiltration problems of storm water getting into the sanitary sewer system. Flow meters are now in place on 10 manholes. Repairs would be made as more troubled areas of the system are identified, Rauch said.

The water and sewer ordinances will be open for public discussion at the March 19 council meeting.

An ordinance establishing regulations for mounting an exterior wood burning stove in the International Mechanical Code adopted by the city received no public comment. Final passage was set for the March 19 meeting.

Bills for the month totaling $1,704,118.30 were paid. The largest went to Empire District Electric for wholesale electricity totaling $1,246,407. Other big bills included: $22,000 to Land O Lakes for road salt, $17,000 to MFA for fuel and $12,000 to Anchor Fence for fencing to block the railroad crossing on Central Avenue.

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