Jason Boynton, Smith Schafer and Associates, delivered an unmodified, clean opinion during his review of the city’s 2016 audit at the council’s April 10 meeting.
Chatfield’s tax capacity of $1,619,199 is an increase from 2015 to 2016. The general tax levy makes up 20% of total government revenue. Tax Increment Financing in 2016 was $88,564. Local Government Aid provides 10% of city government revenue. LGA will increase in 2017.
Chatfield saw an increase in expenditures in 2016 over 2015 in Public Works, Park and Recreation, Community Development, and Public Safety.
The city’s reserves or unassigned general fund balance is 53.1% of the next year’s general fund, including property tax and LGA. The city’s policy is to hold reserves at 40 to 60%.
Chatfield acquired a new ambulance in 2015 and a new fire truck in 2016. The city’s contribution to the Chatfield Center for the Arts was $60,000. Two loans were issued in 2016 totaling $75,000 from the Revolving Loan Fund.
The city is making timely debt service payments. Water rates are sufficient to cover depreciation and to build reserves. Sewer fund rates are sufficient to cover operating costs. The debt is being paid down and cash reserves are being maintained.
Boynton concluded, commending management and staff for doing a nice job, using a lot of forward thinking.
Other business in brief
• An administrative office redesign proposal from Widseth, Smith, Nolting (WSN) was approved. The fee for the architectural services will be on an hourly basis not to exceed $1,700.
• Citywide Cleanup will begin May 8.
• Chris Giesen, EDA, requested that the city contribute $1,000 toward the Journey to Growth Regional Dashboard Project. The request was approved with the funds coming from Rochester’s Sales Tax Fund. The project will detail regional demographic and economic statistics to help with marketing and recruitment of outside businesses. The total cost of the project is $21,000.
• Councilor Paul Novotny reported on the Public Works Committee’s business. The city has been replacing street and other non-reflective signs in a section of town each year, updating to reflective signs as required. Signs will be replaced on the west side of town to complete the street sign replacement. A quote from EF Anderson in the amount of $2,440.40 was approved for street and traffic signs, plus installation.
The Commercial Club and Chosen Valley Community Foundation are being asked to weigh in on choices for replacement Christmas decorations for the city.
The council will be looking at options as to the number of feet of sewer piping to televise before the mill and overlay of Highway 52.
Novotny reported that the city is way behind, about five years behind, on chip sealing. Public Works is looking at what can be done, what the city can afford.
• An Ambulance Service policy for uncollectable debts was approved. Debts deemed uncollectable will be written off the books.
• The council approved the submission of an Award Nomination to the League of Minnesota Cities. The nomination is Chatfield’s water meter and meter reading improvement project.
• Mayor Russ Smith proclaimed the last Friday in April, April 28, as Arbor Day and the month of May as Arbor Month. On Arbor Day there will be a tree planting at 2 p.m. at the elementary school.
• The Committee of the Whole met. City engineer Tom Kellogg reported on work to create design details for the Industrial Drive project.