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Chairman of the cityís Finance Committee Team, Jim Bockelman, told the Salmon City Council on March 21 it can expect to be budgeting some extra funding in the 2013 budget for solutions to computer software problems.

He said that at the March 13 meeting City Finance Director Amy Fealko informed the team of problems in the software the city uses for its financial records. She said they are being worked on by the software vendor and the problems will be resolved in six months to a year but the eventual fix may be quite expensive.

Bockelman said Fealko discussed the advantages of paying off $200,000 of the 1990 Water Bond versus investing that same amount of money. The team forwarded to the council its recommendation of making a large payment on the water bond and the topic was placed on the March 21 council meeting agenda.

The City Council decided that putting the money to use by making a lump sum payment on a loan that is costing five percent is a better investment that the current less than one percent rate of return on other investments. City Administration George Ambrose told the council the 1990 Water Bond is the only interest bearing note the city is presently carrying and that there would be no penalty fee for paying it down. The councilís roll call vote to make a $200,000 payment on the old bond was unanimous. The money for the payment will be taken from the cityís Water Utilities fund.

Another financial recommendation approved by the city council was to establish a Capital Improvement Department in the cityís General Fund to facilitate better project planning, track capital expenditures and generally keep available monies working. The recommendation came from Fealko, City Auditor and Certified Public Accountant Bob Baker and the Finance Team.

It was explained that whenever accumulated funds exceeded 35 percent of the Contingency Fundís operating budget the excess would be transferred to the Capital Improvement Account. The councilís vote of approval was unanimous.

According to Bockelmanís Finance Team report there will be no lack of projects for the Capital Improvement fund. He said over 100 light fixtures at City Hall need to be retrofitted from T-12 bulbs to T-8 bulbs in order to meet federal mandates. He said that after a $4,000 credit from Idaho Power the estimated cost to the city could be around $6,000. The upgrade of a lift chair that assists with swimming pool entry is something required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and must be completed prior to this seasonís opening. That will cost up to $8,000.

Yet another expense is repair of the elevator in City Hall and adjacent carpeting. Cost estimates put that project at around $20,000. A grant application for $10,000 has been submitted and if awarded will be put towards the repairs.

The Finance Team has completed work on a proposal for fee increases. Any changes to fees charged for city facilities or services are made by way of an ordinance. The Ordinance 09-747 revision will be passed along to the council and entered into the required public hearing process.

The next regular meeting of the Finance Committee Team will be April 10 at 11AM in the Salmon Valley Center meeting room.

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