Mayer receives good news on audit

By Lorrie Ham

The Mayer City Council was presented with the 2013 audit at its March 10 meeting. Following the presentation by Steve McDonald of Abdo, Eick and Meyers, the council accepted the audit and authorized the firm to submit it to the State of Minnesota.
“Everything was in good order,” said McDonald. “There were no issues or exceptions found.”
Overall, revenues were more than budget by about $190,000 in 2013. There was more development than anticipated, which related to an increase in building permits, and the city received more local government aid than expected, according to the audit.
Expenditures in 2013 were more than budget by $58. Transfers of excess fund balance were made to establish a permanent capital fund in 2013 as well.
The audit showed healthy balances in each of the enterprise funds – water, sewer and storm water utility. Each of the funds outreached the minimum target balance recommended and kept pace with operating costs.
McDonald thanked the city staff for its help in being prepared for the audit. He encouraged the council to continue to participate in the budget process.
“Good financial accountability reflects positively on the city,” he added.
In another matter, the council approved the issuance of 100 coupons to city residents for the appliance and electronic recycling program in 2014. The program will offer one $10 coupon to each household. Last year a total of 16 coupons were redeemed. The program is funded through a county recycling grant.
The council also approved the annual contract in the amount of $200 with Frontline Plus, Inc. to perform routine inspection of the city’s warning siren. During a recent inspection, Frontline found that the siren was currently functioning at only 66 percent. Repairs to the siren were quoted at $1,440, which the council also approved. An optional upgrade to extend coverage of the siren was turned down by the council this year as the item was not included in the budget. Councilmembers also felt the upgrade was not necessary at this time since there was currently no development in the area proposed for an upgrade.
City Administrator Luayn Murphy suggested that the city look at including a siren fee in future development agreements beginning in 2015 to help cover the cost of future upgrades as needed.
On a split 2-2 vote, a motion approving a three-year employment agreement with Administrator Murphy failed. Mayor Mike Dodge and Councilmember Tice McPadden-Stieve were in favor of the agreement, while councilmembers Bruce Osborn and Erick Boder voted against it. Councilmember Daniel Lueth was not present.
Neither the council nor Murphy had recommended changes to the existing agreement, which expires in May 2014. Although the council had discussed the matter at a workshop in February, Osborn said he was not ready to extend the contract. Boder felt that the entire council should be on hand for the discussion.
Mayor Dodge said he was not sure how to go about bringing a failed vote back to the table. The city attorney will be consulted on how to proceed.