At the Tuesday, June 18 Rushford Village Council meeting, CPA Bill Sherry, of Engleson & Associates, was on hand to discuss audit results for the city. Sherry reviewed the highlights of the audit, including fund balances, debts, revenue and expenses.
At year’s end, the city had cash and investments of 955,000 in all accounts. Its main assets continue to be equipment and roads, and liabilities include $1.3 million in debt and pension liability.
The city’s water and sewer funds stand at $327,000, cash and investments, with $315,000 in debt. Utilities were both profitable with water utility at $10,000 net and sewer at $7,500. “From a standpoint of user fees, what you’re collecting is enough to cover the expenses,” said Sherry. There is savings in cost-sharing with City of Rushford for water, as there would have been considerable added costs had the Village needed to provide solely its own water infrastructure.
“I don’t think your debt is excessive in your utilities,” added Sherry, responding to Mayor Gordon Johnson’s concern of revenue being sufficient to cover debts. “Major expenses or repairs that come up can sway that number real quick. It would be nice to have a cushion in reserves to cover those types of expenses, should they come up.” Water Fund pays $17,000 of debt principal and interest, while Sewer Fund pays $8,000.
Johnson also questioned the best practices of generating funds for garbage collection. The city collects funds for the service in tax revenue and pays the provider directly. According to Sherry, this is uncommon in Minnesota, but is done in smaller municipalities in Wisconsin.
“As as a city doing something like that, I feel we save money,” said Johnson, citing direct billing by the city with garbage collection a tax item paid for up front. Sherry indicated that the majority of other municipalities run garbage collection as an enterprise fund with residents paying as a utility.
“Equipment and roads put you over budget and swayed numbers,” continued Sherry. The Village purchased a grader for $240,000 and completed an $82,000 upgrade to Benson Lane. “There was considerable other work done, but those things generally aren’t capitalized.”
Local Government Aid, AG aid, and small cities grants totaled $59,000 in 2018. “It continues to be major sources of revenue in the General Fund,” noted Sherry.
In Zoning, the council was apprised of final state approval of Ordinance #4 – Floodplain Management. The council offered praise for Clerk Mary Miner’s handling of the process for the city. “Kudos for being first in the county,” chuckled Councilor Dennis Overland.
Road repair on Aspen Road continues. Public Works Supervisor Travis Scheck and Councilor Mike Ebner recently toured the road and Ebner noted it would have to be watched. Delayed spring thaw and recent installation of underground cable have created some rough road conditions. He further noted that the company doing cable installation is good about reclamation and that follow-up on the road will continue.
“Other townships are digging out boils and filling them,” added Johnson. “I think frost is still coming out. Mathys had to quit digging because there was still frost.”
A proposal for new water meters was received from Ferguson Waterworks. The proposal included 105 Neptune meters, but it was unclear whether or not installation was included. The proposal equates to $250/resident. City Treasurer Judy Graham questioned whether or not system software upgrades were expected annually and what that cost would be.
The council opted to wait on making any decisions and instead to continue gathering information on meters and related costs.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Tuesday, July 2, at 7 p.m., at the Village Hall. The public is encouraged to attend.