By Jan Rahn
First on the agenda at last week’s council meeting was a presentation sprinkled with praise from the city’s auditor regarding how far Grant has come in the last few years.
Members of council received the full audit report along with letters of findings and support from Terry Galloway of Almquist, Maltzahn, Galloway and Luth CPA firm in Grand Island.
Galloway began his audit presentation by referring to various sections of the entire multi-page report and making comments on the assets, governmental funds, proprietary funds and overall budget.
In referring to the section on governmental funds, Galloway said to the council, “These are very good numbers to have. You have strong cash reserves.”
In the general government portion of the audit, Galloway pointed to the budgeted figure of $152,000 and spending of $123,000.
“You adopted a budget that’s very realistic,” he said.
In referring to the street account, there was $230,000 budgeted with $204,000 spent.
“I like how you manage overall cash,” said Galloway.
He commended council for replacing infrastructure on a timely basis and commented on water/sewer/waste, levy rates and property taxes, highway allocation, and services to the community such as police protection, cemetery/library/recreation and airport.
Galloway said the thing he could suggest overall is that council take at look at the electric rates.
Because of supplier increases, the city has a very low income-to-revenue ratio and risks losing money on electrical service if rates are not increased.
The council was also provided a report on the city’s electrical system showing it to be in very good condition to handle future forecasted loads.
“You’ve done a great job in running the City of Grant,” said Galloway at the conclusion of his report. “We have come a long way since 2006.”
One and Six
Tom Werblow of TC Engineering was present for a 7:30 p.m. hearing on the proposed one and six year street plans.
He presented council with a summary of what projects were accomplished last year that fit into the six-year plan, and encouraged future planning.
Armor coating is budgeted for the current year and the bid process should begin in March. Werblow said the work will be done within the budget set and informed council that the cost of gravel has come down some even though the trend on everything has been upward for the past four years.
Gas prices drive the economy and costs for delivery of anything, he said.
The increased costs are amazing for street construction, Werblow told council. “Since 1983 [as Grant’s engineer] the numbers are just astounding.”
Golf Course Well
Further discussion was held on replacing the pump vs a new well at the golf course.
Drilling a new municipal well, plus the costs associated with piping the water to town would be at least $1 million, said Werblow.
City Administrator Dana Harris will pursue a meeting with the Economic Development Committee to check on funding for only a new pump which would cost approximately $54,000.
The bid notice for replacement of the library roof has been published.
Bid opening will be Feb. 8, and the council will consider bids at their meeting on Feb. 12.