Southern Utah News Articles
Fredonia Town Council discuss finances, misunderstandings
Public comment at the March 22 Fredonia Town Council meeting began with Town Clerk TinaMarie Horlacher, informing the council she had received a financial statement from town accountant Lee Esplin. The findings indicate some departments are over budget, some under and some right on, but overall the town is still in the black by approximately $15,000.
Town auditor Steve Palmer, of Hinton Burdick, reiterated the financial stability of the town during his presentation of the 2009-2010 Audit. The town’s total net assets at the end of the audit were $7,142,000, down approximately $106,000.
Palmer attributed the decline to a difficult economic climate and severe cuts from the state. During the fiscal year, expenses had also exceeded income. Despite the decrease in assets, Palmer expressed his belief that Fredonia is in good financial condition.
Town Manager Dan Watson explained there had been an apparent lack of communication between Sunrise Engineering and Garkane in the design of the new water treatment facility. The new filtration system requires a neutral line that designers thought already existed to the site; it did not. Watson presented three options; the most cost effective option would be to utilize the existing power poles and would cost approximately $18,000, plus replacement of any poles unable to be reused.
Town Council member Alvin Johnson expressed his concern that the engineers should have addressed the issue during the initial design process. He felt this was yet another major issue that had been missed by the engineers and should have been handled before any construction began, including the easement issues.
Watson stated he felt the town should meet with the management of Sunrise Engineering to discuss the project and the issues the town has had to face.
Watson then presented the settlement from Canyonlands Community Health Care for acceptance. Canyonlands agreed to pay $25,000 of the past due utilities, legal fees would come out of the settlement and, according to Watson, the remaining would be used for repairs and maintenance to the building.
Town contracts were discussed and it was determined requests for proposals would be issued for all contracts held by the town, such as propane, accounting services, pool repair/chemicals, janitorial services, port-a-potties, softball and auditing services. With the severity of budget cuts from the state, the town felt it important to cut expenses and insure the best value for each contract. Horlacher informed the council she and Watson had put a freeze on any spending as well.
The council reviewed the progress made by Dixon Spendlove on the remodeling of the Welcome Center into a museum. The council agreed he had made great strides on very little money, and felt the museum would be an incredible draw to the community.
Watson informed the council there had been a miscommunication and Spendlove had gone over the initially approved $5,000 by almost $2,000. Watson indicated, however, he felt Spendlove was nearing completion. The council asked how much money it would take to complete the project. Watson did not know, but would ask Spendlove.
Council member Brent Mackelprang stated he understood things are tight, but authorized an additional $5,000 for the project. He said it could be taken out of the Canyonland settlement.