Council members received a good report card Monday evening. An independent audit showed only a couple very minor bookkeeping changes and a “clean opinion”.
The Farmington City Council was meeting for its monthly session. Katie Rhodes, of the certified public accounting firm of Thurman, Shinn and Company, delivered the firm’s findings. She said it was her understanding that city hall staff has taken suggestions and implemented them already. She reported that total assets were up slightly, putting the city in a good financial position.
Rhodes also said the audit resulted in a “clean opinion,” showing the city’s bookkeeping practices and account balances were satisfactory.
Later in the meeting City Administrator Greg Beavers talked about another move to help put the city in an improved financial position. Several years ago the city purchased 14 trailer-mounted diesel generators. The units were wired into the city-owned electrical grid for two purposes — generate emergency power to keep key businesses and public buildings open during outages, and create surplus power during peak use hours and sell it back to the power “pool” the city purchased power from.
Using the generators was a revenue making move for several years. Now the federal EPA is requiring the city to install “scrubber” emissions filters on the exhaust of units used to generate power for sale. Doing so will be a costly move, eating away much of the profit which can be made running the units to make power to sell to the purchasing pool. But if the city reduces its number of generators and uses them primarily for emergency power they can still serve a purpose without being too costly, Beavers explained.
Near the end of the council meeting a bill was introduced to allow the mayor to enter into an agreement with Blakely and Associates Consulting Engineers, Inc., for brokerage of six generators. The move will leave the city with eight units for emergency power production.
The city administrator also reported on two other issues. He said an agreement is in the works for the city to take over operation of the Farmington Correctional Center’s water system. He told the council a proposal is being drafted.
Beavers also told of a plan to purchase a fuel delivery system, a “fuel truck”, to shuttle aviation fuel directly to aircraft at the municipal airport. While the airport has a set of pumps near the tarmac, pulling helicopters or corporate jets close enough to take on fuel can be tricky. It’s believed the airport would sell significantly more fuel if a worker could deliver it directly to the customers.
Councilman Larry Forsythe asked Beavers to discuss a city-owned shooting range off Pimville Road. The administrator explained how several years ago the city developed a range for police officers to use during weapons qualifications.
In recent years the range has been used, without authorization, by people other than police officers. Beavers told how the location was adequate for officers qualifying with handguns and shotguns, but does not have enough distance and security measures to guard against a rifle round reaching homes beyond the shooting lanes.
In an effort to eliminate unauthorized use of the range a gate with a chain and lock was installed. But Mayor Stuart “Mit” Landrum told the group Monday night that he had visited the city property recently and found the gate unchained and the lock missing.
The administrator said he would look into the issue and report back.
During committee reports a reminder was given about the upcoming city-wide spring cleanup April 9-12. City workers will canvas one ward each day, starting with Ward 1 on April 9, collecting items too large for the regular trash service.
Also during the committee reports, Councilman Lynn Crites unveiled a new printed city services guide. She said the booklet includes parks and recreation activities.
Council members ended the session by voting on and approving several pieces of legislation. Two dealt with a restructuring of the Maple Valley Community Improvement District board of directors and other contracts and agreements between the city and Maple Valley Plaza Project, also known as the Gundaker development near the corner of Maple Street and Maple Valley Drive.
Gundaker Commercial, the developer of the shopping mall, recently lost the project through foreclosure by Pulaski Bank. The two bills approved Monday remove Gundaker from the paperwork and list Pulaski Bank, as well as appointing Councilwoman Lynn Crites to serve as the council’s representative on the CID board.
The council will meet next April 12 at 6:30 p.m.