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City of Rushford Audit report presented

Fri, Apr 25th, 2003
Posted in Features

At a special meeting of the Rushford City Council on Monday, April 21, 2003, Tom Wente of Smith, Schafer and Associates presented the city’s audit report to the council.

"You’ve done a good job either budgeting or staying in the budget," Wente informed the council.

Wente spoke of a $100,000 increase in the general fund reserve for this year. With the reserves just under $400,000, the city will have 70 per cent of what it needs to operate in the bank at the end of the year.

Utilizing graphs to show trends through the years, Wente pointed out that most funds were doing well. Concerns arose with the Water and Sewer Funds, however. The Water Fund still shows slight losses after the rate increases.

Wente said, " It looks like you’ll need to raise water rates again." The Sewer Fund also shows a slight loss.

The Liquor Fund on the other hand shows slight increases. Commenting, "It’s been a pretty dependable fund for you," Wente pointed to a $60,000 transfer from the Liquor Fund, with $25,000 going to the General Fund and $35,000 to the Water Fund. Even with an increase in operating expenses due to compliance with the state pay equity guidelines, the Liquor Fund has contributed to keeping taxes down for the citizens by providing "significant revenue."

Other business

•After hearing the audit report, the council moved on to other business, the first item being a dialogue with Tony Heiden on his sewer damage claim at his commercial property. The city offered to pay half of Heiden’s total $811.23 costs. Heiden argued that the design of the system was faulty, with the storm sewer emptying into the nearby pond with an opening to the northwest. This line is only six inches from the sanitary sewer line serving Heiden’s building. Heiden suggested that was why the sanitary sewer line froze.

The council responded that the system is designed according to code.

"I think 50/50 is fair," stated Council member Ron Mierau, "We’ve never paid 100 per cent of anyone’s claim." With that, Mierau made a motion to pay half of the claim.

"There’s the offer, you’ll have to decide, Tony," declared Mayor T.S. Roberton. Heiden did not make a decision on the offer.

•The possible purchase of a second police squad car was once again discussed.

Ron Mierau stated, "I personally don’t believe we need two squad cars," pointing to the expense of owning two cars.

Unable to get a motion from the council, Mayor Roberton declared the issue stands as previously decided with no car to be purchased.

•A final item covered at this special meeting was a letter from Russ Stammer, SHE engineer, regarding the recommended sanitary sewer rates for Rushford and Rushford Village. Stammer suggested a monthly increase of $2.78 per REU (residential equivalent usage—50,000 gallons per year). A public hearing on the sewer rate is set for May 12, 2003. Stammer also suggested the purchase of farmland near the city for the disposal of biosolids to save costs.

Wanda Hanson can be contacted at

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