|Village board hears audit report, approves new skid steer lease|
|Written by Wauneta Breeze|
|Thursday, 20 March 2014 00:00|
By Sheri Hink-Wagner
The Wauneta Breeze
The Wauneta village board held two meetings last week. Their regular March meeting was held on Tuesday, March 11 and a special meeting to review the village’s audit report was held on Wednesday, March 12.
Terry Galloway with Almquist, Maltzahn, Galloway & Luth attended the special meeting Wednesday to review the audit report with village board members.
To start off his presentation Galloway told board members, “Things just keep getting better. I’d say you’re in really good shape for a village your size.”
The first item Galloway reviewed with village board members was a comparison of budgeted expenses and actual spending during the audit year that ended Sept. 20, 2013. He noted the village had budgeted to spend $296,750 from the general fund during the year, but had only spent $165,218 in actuality. Galloway congratulated village board members for doing a, “fantastic job keeping costs and expenses down.” The village also spent less than budgeted in the street fund.
After presentation of the village’s audit, Galloway provided the board with a comparison of how the Village of Wauneta compares with other communities of similar size in Nebraska. The comparisons Galloway presented showed over and over that the former and current Wauneta Village Board have strived to make the village financially sound.
The firm performs audits on several communities within Nebraska and provided comparison between Wauneta and other communities of the same size (under 1,000 population).
The firm recommends the municipality have between 30-35 percent of its assets unrestricted. According to the report, the village of Wauneta has 66 percent of its government wide assets unrestricted.
Further, the firm states having 40 percent of the funds in the general fund unassigned as a best practice. The village of Wauneta blew that best practice away with 360 percent of the general fund balance unassigned.
Galloway pointed out that the village’s debt coverage ration on its water fund are not quite as high as the best practice. He said the audit showed the village has operating funds, but that the operating funds a slightly below what would be expected. He assured board members the issue is not of concern, it shows that board members are being good stewards of residents’ money.
The summary also showed that the people of Wauneta are paying less property taxes, about $15 under what other citizens of similarly sized towns are paying.
Galloway also noted the village has a fair amount of cash reserves built up for the village, which would allow the village to complete projects or build infrastructure without having to get a loan, if they so decided.
Galloway was unable to provide a comparison to other villages in one area, that which tracks depreciation of capital assets such as roads, buildings, etc. He told the board the village needs to create a list of what all assets the village holds so they can make a plan for when replacements will need to be made. Galloway suggested village board members create the list to get the process started.
The benchmarks also showed the village to be a little over what other communities are spending on the park, police and the cemetery. The report showed that Wauneta spends $81 per capita on the park, where the best practice is $80. It also showed the village spends $87 per capita on police with a $55 per capita best practice. The cemetery costs Wauneta residents $20 per capita compared to a $15 per capita best practice.
Galloway told board members, “It’s not bad that you are over, it’s a level of service you want to provide to your citizens.” He explained that many communities the size of Wauneta do not have any police expenses at all, therefore making the $50,000 per year that Wauneta spends seem overly large in comparison.
Village Superintendent Bill Bischoff noted the higher than usual cemetery expenses are tied to the need to spray the trees at the cemetery due to the drought.
The special meeting on the audit report ended with a discussion of how some of the village’s cash reserves may need to be spent in the next year to get the village’s water supply in compliance due to the arsenic levels in the water. Bischoff said the village will know more in the next three months.
The board approved a $5,500 annual lease with Nebraska Machinery Company for a new skid steer for the village. The village has leased skid steers from the company for the past four years at $3,750 per year.
The leases are for one year or 250 hours, which ever comes first. The skid steer’s current lease is up in June, but is nearing its 250 hours, requiring the village to consider options to avoid overage fees. The buyout on the current skid steer lease is $51,000.
After discussion, board members voted to renew the lease $5,500 for another year rather than purchase the current skid steer.
The regular meeting agenda was also slotted to include review of revised bids on a second furnace for the ambulance barn. Since Chairman Lloyd Sinner was unable to attend the regular meeting board members decided to table the bid review until next month since Sinner is the board member most familiar with the need.
Board members also reviewed a new ordinance for the village which would allow ATV and UTVs to be driven within village limits. After discussion, the board instructed Village Clerk to make a few more minor changes to language within the ordinance plans to review it formally at the April meeting.
Under old business Page Johnston provided fellow board members with an update on the turkey problem in town. He said he had been in contact with Mike Sherman with the USDA regarding attempts to eliminate the turkeys, which Sherman felt had made an impact on the problem, but not eliminated it.
Sherman told Johnston Nebraska Game and Parks had urged him not to shoot the turkeys if it could be avoided so the current plan is to continue to try pyrotechnics to alleviate the situation. Johnston also reported various feed plots have been put out on ground surrounding the village to attempt to draw the turkeys out of town.
In the superintendent’s report Bischoff told board members a representative with Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) had visited the village office to give a presentation to village staff. He and Skelton were told there would most likely not be an increase in the charge Wauneta pays for electricity from NPPD this year, but that it may be coming in 2015.
Bischoff and Skelton felt it may not be necessary to hire a consultant to audit the village’s electric charges until after NPPD rates increase. Skelton said she would try to pull together some numbers prior to the next board meeting.
Bischoff also told board members he has been approached by an Eagle Scout from Kansas about the possiblitity of completing his Eagle Scout project in Wauneta, where he has family. Bill thought a new Wauneta sign at the park may be a possible project for the Scout, but wanted to ask board members for their ideas as well.
He also mentioned the village is beginning to gear up for summer and will be advertising for summer help soon.
The next regular meeting of the Wauneta village board is scheduled for Tuesday, April 8 at 7 p.m. MT at the Wauneta village office.