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ALL THINGS FINANCIAL 7-16-14 LMS

The city’s Finance Team is reviewing how best to determine sewer rates for city residents. According to a report by Finance Team Chairman/Councilman Jim Bockelman, City Finance Director Amy Fealko told the team she would like a full year of data before recommending changes to the present method of determining charges.

Bockelman told the July 16 meeting of the Salmon City Council that Fealko has found, while reviewing past comparisons which base rates on usage, that if based on usage some user costs would actually go up significantly. He said the Finance Team feels the closer the city can get to charging for the impact an individual user has on the sewer system, verses a flat fee for water usage, the more just way of assessment can be achieved. It has been recommended that perhaps an engineer’s opinion would be helpful. The basis on which charges are assessed was raised several months ago related to the restaurant rates being assessed. Bockelman said the team will continue to work on finding an equitable solution based on type of usage.

He reported that all Local Option Tax delinquent payments have been paid in full and that City Clerk Mary Benton has provided a list of all contracts and agreements with which the city is presently involved. The multi-page list identifies the type of all 101 existing contracts along with their beginning and end date. Types of agreements range from service agreements on office equipment to water rights, document storage, on-line postage, recreation associations, janitorial services and easements.

The documentation will enable the city to keep track of renewal dates as well the terms of each commitment.

Bockelman said Matt Spencer and Sherri Lukens presented the team with information on how the city could transition into renewable energy systems as well as possible funding sources to pay for such systems. Spencer is with the Solartek Solutions Company and explained how municipalities can directly benefit by way of renewable energy systems. He said he would need records on the city’s history of power usage in order to get started on a system plan. Spencer will work with Fealko and City Grants/Community Development Project Coordinator Mary Cerise.

Bockelman said the Finance Team discussed the lack of fees being paid for use of the City Hall Meeting Room. The team will research partnership agreements on usage as well as the understandings and possible misunderstandings that may be causing the lack of payments.

Councilman Jim Baker told the team of how some Local Option Tax commissions obtain data to evaluate the benefits realized from each funding award. Baker feels local groups need to provide a better accounting of what benefits are achieved with the funding. Cerise told him some of the changes made to the LOT funding process should address those concerns.

The next meeting of the Finance Team will be August 13 at 11AM in the Salmon Valley Center’s meeting room.


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