Wadena City Commissioners heard the city had a "clean" audit report during their regular meeting Tuesday, July 9.
That means the accounting principles are generally accepted, do not contain material misstatements and area fairly presented. Main highlights included, the city was showing enough income to last seven months without revenue, should the situation arise. At least six months was the recommended amount. Expenditures could be divided into the following categories public safety (35%); public works (21%); general government (15%); airport (3%); capital outlay (10%); culture and recreation (11%) and other (5%). The debt to expenditures ratio was at 10%. National credit ratings recommend not exceeding 25%.
The debt to revenue ratio for governmental funds were at 96% for 2018. Recommendations ranged from 300% to a more conservative not higher than 180%.
2018 operating income in the sewer fund showed a loss of $165,011. The water fund's operating income showed a profit of $142,545.
The operating fund for the electric fund showed a profit of $853,473 and a transfer of $296,642.
The Wellness Center showed an operating loss of $343,724. Regarding this loss, auditor Brian Stavenger a partner with Eide Bailly, said that wellness centers and golf courses typically run in the negative. They are not money makers, rather benefits to the community. He explained that the wellness center has been operating at a loss for the last five years. Expenses were at about $975,000 for 2018, while revenues were at an all time high of $631,251. A large part of expenses includes depreciation costs.
The golf course saw higher revenues than the last three years with $284,468, and expenses were stable at $346,472, for a loss of $62,004.
The liquor store showed a net profit of $556,681 with over $2.1 million in sales in 2018, the highest sales in the last seven years.
In other actions, council members:
• Authorized the hiring of Brittany Johnson as a lifeguard at the Maslowski Wellness & Research Center.
• Authorize issuing a 3.2 On-Sale Beer License and malt liquor license to Comes Investments, dba Pizza Hut.
• Authorize hiring Phil Theisen as a Part-time Retail Clerk at the Wadena Liquor Store.
• Accept Firefighter Andy Otto's resignation from the fire department.
• Authorizing participation in the Community Concern for Youth Program with Todd-Wadena Community Corrections.
• Authorize entering into a professional services contract with Bolton & Menk for the Wadena Municipal Liquor Store ADA Improvement Project at a cost of $5,600. This improvement is part of a settlement agreement concerning a lawsuit between the city and Aaron Dalton, a man who claimed he was unable to gain access to the liquor store due to ADA accessibility issues. The improvement includes work on the entry and ramp into the building.
• Authorize the Industrial Drive SE paving project. In an effort to provide dust control and lessen maintenance on a gravel roadway from Bottemiller Drive to Freshwater Education, pavement will be laid on Industrial Drive to the location.
• Authorize the Burlington Northern Park bench installation project, paid for by the Parks Foundation, at a cost of $9,462. This is not just park benches, it involves a large border of treated lumber, with 36 hosta plants, mulch, four benches, and trash receptacles. These are to be installed on the east and west ends of the park.
• Authorize Installation of two trees and a tree wraparound Bench in Tapley Park. This is the second project put together by Daryl and Vicki Pearson. First they paid for materials and installed a tree bench that wraps around a tree in Tapley Park, now they are offering to plant two trees and add a bench that spans between the two. Council members asked if there was a master plan for Tapley Park. There was no knowledge of a plan for the park, but all council members were in favor of allowing the new feature.
• Authorize renewing the Depot Lease with the Partners for a Healthy Wadena. Partners plans to continue the lease until the Wadena Chamber of Commerce makes their decision if they will take over the lease.
• Authorize purchasing SCBA equipment from Emergency Response Solutions for the fire department. The original cost budgeted for this expense was $75,000. It was determined that the actual cost is considerably more, $97,000. After discussing the options, it was still determined the fire department needed this equipment to remain compliant so the board approved increasing the bond in order to cover the cost of this expense. This includes tanks and air packs for fire department members. The bond included no more than $400,000 for a new pumper truck. Fire chief Dean Uselman said research continues to determine which truck would be the best one for the city to purchase.
• Heard some concerns from resident and former council member Toby Pierce. Pierce wondered if town would be getting quieter any time soon including a "quiet zone" with the railroad. This topic has been ongoing and Mayor Deiss said at this point its a project that is still being worked out with the work coming with the Hwy 10 reconstruction.
Next Pierce brought up the fact that Wadena signs don't say welcome. They just say Wadena. He said the one sign that does offer a welcome, at Traveler's Park, has not been lit for sometime. Deiss responded that the sign may be moved as changes are still to come to the area with the reconstruction in 2020. Evans said that the utilities are not hooked up to the sign at this time.
• Heard from Parks director Dan Kovar that dirtwork began at the splash pad and that irrigation was installed at the old Peterson-Biddick Property in order to green up the space near the new parking area.