City Council accepts annual audit report

The City Council of Webster City approved the audit report for 2011-2012 Monday night during the council’s regular session.

Jeff Peters of Williams and Company, the city’s audit firm, presented his firm’s findings.

“You have to be very pleased with the general fund balance,” Peters said. “Not all communities your size are in that position.

“The general fund is where it needs to be and on the strong end of where it needs to be,” he said. “The state would like to see a 10 percent reserve. You folks are in a 40 percent reserve range. That’s a pretty good spot. Not everybody is there.”

Peters said the city currently has 170 days of cash reserves. He also said the city was fortunate with the water and sewer funds to show some revenue which can be set aside for replacement of infrastructure.

“Not all cities are able to structure revenue in the water and sewer funds,” he said.

“There’s just really nothing in here that makes me want to tell you to do something different,” he said. “I think you’re in really good shape.”

The council members accepted the audit report and approved placing the report on file.

Members of the Border Brigade Archery Club gave another update on the club’s progress and growth.

Club Vice President Jared Zimmer and President Kent Schell reported that the group’s open house, held earlier this month at 7B Ranch, attracted more than 100 people. Zimmer said about 40 people have joined the club and at least 15 others have expressed an interest. The total membership is around 60 people, he said.

Zimmer asked the council for a recommendation for a qualified engineer or expert who might be able to advise the group on issue of raising or moving the entry to 7B Ranch, where the group is now headquartered. City Manager Ed Sadler said he would be willing to advise the club on the matter and has experience in dealing with such issues.

The club members also asked the council for permission to have the Parks and Recreation Commission act as a sponsor for the group to apply for Enhance Hamilton County funding. Sadler said City Attorney Gary Groves wanted to review the matter before the council voted. Sadler said he would meet with Groves about the request in the near future.

Zimmer and Schell also said the club will soon be deciding if it will pursue the opportunity to host the archery portion of the Iowa Games. The event is handled through the Iowa Bowmasters Association, of which the local club members are affiliated. Schell said the two-day event could bring anywhere from 200 to 400 participants to the community. The grant funding would allow the club to purchase equipment such as targets which would be necessary to hosting the Iowa Games event.

Monday night, the council also considered the first reading of a proposed ordinance pertaining to signs. The ordinance specifically addressed the use and display of political signs in the community.

The proposed revisions to the political sign regulations include the following recommendations:

Political signs shall not be placed within the right-of-way, street or public grounds;

Political signs shall comply with the visual corner clearance requirements set out in Chapter 129.09(I);

Political signs pertaining to any election, caucus or referendum may be displayed for 45 days before the official vote. They must be removed within 7 days after the vote with the only exception being that signs from the primaries do not have to be removed until 7 days after the general election.

Individual political signs can be no larger than 4-square-feet (using one or both sides). A property can have a total of 20-square-feet (using one or both sides) of political signage on their premises.

The council approved the first reading of the ordinance.

The third and final reading of the proposed electric rate increase was approved by the council Monday night. This increase will represent a 6 to 7 percent increase in energy and demand rates.

“Our wholesaler is giving us an increase of 6 to 7 percent Jan. 1. Bottom line is a change to the energy charges, not the base rate,”?said City Manager Ed Sadler.

Sadler said a Webster City resident had questioned Cornbelt Power Cooperative about the increase. Ken Kuiper of Cornbelt was in attendance at the meeting and Sadler asked him to tell the council and the public the response made to the citizen’s question.

“The question was asking about electric increases during energy boons,”?he said. “We have had a 7 percent increase to Cornbelt from our electric supply group.”

He said Cornbelt passed on a 6 percent increase to its members, including Webster City. He said the biggest cause for increases in rates are increases in load, requiring new generation plants.

“New generation plants are very expensive,”?he said. Three new plants in the past few years have been added, as well wind generation additions to meet load growth needs