THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Peshtigo Gets Good Annual Audit Report
Issue Date: May 3, 2018
Scott Sternhagen, financial consultant with the Schenck auditing firm, told Peshtigo City Council at its meeting on Tuesday, May 1 that the city's general fund reserves of about $1.2 million are right where they need to be, and thanks to rate increases put in place in October of 2016 the sewer utility operated in the black in 2017 for the first time in many years.
Utility operations showed a profit of about $50,000, Sternhagen said, which makes it possible to put some money away for future replacements and repairs that Public works Director George Cowell pointed out are required by DNR requirements for the city's Clean Water Fund loan.
Cowell said they are supposed to put $72,000 year into the replacement fund. However, Stern Hagen said they are finally generating enough cash to do that without seeking out other sources, because they can also cover maintenance expenses from that fund.
Sternhagen had high praise for city office personnel, mainly Anita Morois and now retired City Clerk/Treasurer Vickie Koronkiewicz for their accounting accuracy, record keeping and helpfulness with the audit.
"You guys should be very pleased with the staff that you have here," he declared.
Mayor Cathi Malke also expressed thanks to Morois and Koronkiewicz, and described them as "awesome employees."
Sternhagen said since the city's Tax Increment District (TID) is going away this year and because they depend so heavily on state shared revenues, they need to be putting money aside for capital needs, and need to maintain a large General Fund Balance.
He said operating revenues for the water utility are very comparable to last year, and there will be a big transfer in from the TID in 2018. He said without the TID transfer the water utility would be operating in the negative, and recommended they do a simplified rate price increase or this year, and then in a year or two perhaps consider a larger increase if necessary.
In other business,Council approved sale of a 1.29-acre parcel in the industrial development area near the former Pete the Barber location to Gary and Jessica Reed for the standard price of $2,000 per acre, with development covenants that require building within two years. The city recently regained ownership of that parcel, Malke said. City Attorney David Spangenberg said the development plans have been approved, and papers are drawn with the same restrictive covenants in place that had applied previously.
The UDAG Committee had tentatively agreed to rewrite the loan for Precision Ice Blast for a 5-year term with 3 percent fixed interest rate schedule, except that if the May or June of 2018 payments were not made on time the interest rate would increase to 4 percent for the life of the loan. However, at the Council meeting, Alderman Brigitte Schmidt, who chairs the UDAG Committee, said terms of the agreement had not been met and asked that the matter be sent back to committee.
Council approved, subject to approval by Police Chief Joe FitzGerald, street use permit requests from Kris Karpowicz, parade director of the Peshtigo Historical Day parade on Sept. 29, and Allen England of Zion Lutheran Church for a car show on July 21 and an outdoor concert at the church in September.
Several Class B liquor licenses were approved.
Parks and Recreation Director David Zahn reported Badger Park Campground has opened for the season. There were no water line breaks or other frost damage this year. The campground host has moved his camper in and will be on the job for the summer in less than a week.
Sale of boat launch stickers so far is down about $100 from last year at this time, Zahn said, "possibly due to the cold and snow." He added that nevertheless the city had a really good walleye run.
Zahn said about 70 to 80 players and family members from Peshtigo Youth Baseball and Peshtigo Girls' Softball turned out for several hours on Saturday, April 28 to do an awesome job of cleaning up all four baseball fields in preparation for the Chris Mylener Tournament next weekend. He reminded city officials they are all invited to enjoy the ball games. Teams will be playing all day Saturday and all fay Sunday.
Before the meeting adjourned Malke reminded people to wish happy birthday to Rennes East resident Helen Suminski who on Sunday, April 29 celebrated her 100th birthday