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FINANCE TEAM REPORT 12-18-14 LMS

The Senior Center has delivered an official profit and loss statement to the City Finance Team according to a report from team chairman and City Councilman Jim Bockelman.

He told the December 18 meeting of the Salmon City Council that as requested the statistics show a breakdown of the number of meals provided to city residents and county residents. From January through November 359 meals were served to city residents and 189 to county residents. There were 36 meals delivered to city residents and four to country residents. Spokesperson Arla Boots told the Finance Committee that the average cost per meal was $6.85.

As for the question of how much it costs the county to service the vehicles used by seniors Boots said that would not be an easy number to disseminate however the meal delivery mileage from September through November totaled approximately 999 for an average of 333 miles per month.

Bockelman said the team agrees the center provides a valuable service to the community and needs to remain sustainable. It was recommended meetings should take place between the city, the county and the center to determine what it will take to keep the center well-funded. He said the center is actively pursuing donations from local businesses and has recently received some funds from Idaho Power.

The team discussed at length whether the funding source for the Island Park Bridge project should come from city contingency funds or a bond election if grants do not cover the costs. Bockelman said the team will make its recommendations to the full council for further discussion.

During the Finance Teamís December 10 meeting there was agreement that the sewer and water fee being charged for services to the Salmon Bowling Alley is too high. City Finance Director Amy Fealko suggested rates charged in other community bowling alleys could be used which would reduce the current charges to this facility by half. She will work on a revised fee schedule for council review.

The Finance Team has been researching the option of solar energy for the city and Fealko said over the past three years the city has spent just under $401 thousand for electricity. A solar system large enough to handle the city needs could cost up to $2 million. The team will continue its research.

As to a question regarding whether grounds maintenance work and costs at the Sacajawea Center should be reported to the center or the Parks Department the opinion was all grounds positions should fall under the Parks Department thereby freeing the center from the responsibility of grounds maintenance oversight. That question will be discussed with Mayor Leo Marshall and the appropriate department heads prior to next Spring.

Fealko said she has raised the Parkís Department budget to reflect the cost of power to run the lights and water at the Bear statue water feature. Bockelman voiced a concern for the featureís water quality and mineral build up causing discoloration on the rocks. There was also a discussion of the seasonal start and stop dates and who should be in charge of turning the water off and on.

Bockelman said Councilman Jim Baker recommended a discussion be held on how monies coming from excess property sales are spent. He also wondered if there is an established policy concerning that issue and if so all department heads and employees need to be apprised of what it is. He said if there is no procedure one needs to be drafted.

City Clerk Mary Benton brought up the topic of deposits held by the city for water and sewer services. To date deposits being held total around $54 thousand. Benton said in her opinion the deposits from those who pay on time and regularly, should be returned as a credit by way of the billing process.

She suggested that deposits should still be held on rental properties as well as the deposits made by renters. Benton said the property owner is ultimately responsible for the sewer and water charges and a process could be instigated where, in the event of a renter defaulting, the owner must bring all charges up to date before services continue. The Finance Team agreed all services should require a deposit and if after a year of on-time payments a credit should be given.

Benton will draft an ordinance change for the council to discuss.

Another sewer and water services topic was a possible change in late notice policies. The proposed change would be to eliminate the door hangers due to the amount of time and tax dollars it takes for employees to distribute the hangers as well as time spent turning on and off services.

It was suggested the door hangers be replaced by mailing a second bill with notification of the delinquent status of the services. Benton will put the possible changes into draft form for the council to review.

Bockelman said Fealko told the team there is a need to work on city job descriptions. Additional discussion evolved into a need to develop a method for employee performance appraisals, work history documentation and how pay raises are determined.

Since that meeting Fealko has contacted BDPA, Inc., a human resources management firm. She presented the firmís subsequent $7,940 proposal to the councilís December 18 meeting where it found unanimous approval. Money for the staff evaluations, pay structure review and job description consultations will come from funds saved by not hiring a full time replacement for the position of City Planning and Zoning Administrator/Code Compliance Officer.

The next Finance Team meeting will be scheduled in February with time and date to be announced later.
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