At the El Dorado City Commission meeting on Monday, Dec. 4, the board of commissioners approved paving an extension of Country Club Road to serve the new Grandview elementary school.
The segment to be paved is from McCollum Road to 29th Street. The city will pay Pearson Construction $512,256 for the project, providing that the company furnish the proper bonds. Since the road is being improved, the board of commissioners also annexed the road right-of-way to the City of El Dorado at Monday's meeting and redefined the city limits accordingly.
Afterward, the board of commissioners deemed that delinquent accounts owed to the City of El Dorado are uncollectible. They moved to take them off the city’s accounts receivable records and required that a list delineating each amount be filed in the city clerk's office. The deferred fines – which are court fines and fees – to be removed totaled $59,372.70, and the miscellaneous billing amount – which is related to areas such as mowing and refuse – to be removed is $29,430.03.
"This year, our court [fines] is down a couple thousand dollars again. So, we're doing a better job collecting that. Our miscellaneous fees are up 15,000 [dollars] this year," Tabitha Sharp, city clerk, said.
The $15,000 increase is due to an informal agreement that was done a couple years ago between the City of El Dorado and Butler Community College with respect to maintaining fields; the parties have agreed not to invoice each other for the amounts related to the agreement.
"Looking forward, we would have this reduced to writing and approved by both organizations. But, for the time being, we don't have such an agreement right now," David Dillner, city manager, said.
Instead of simply forgetting all the debts, the city uses several methods to collect the debt – including State Setoff and a private collection agency. Of the total deferred fines being written off, $5,389.50 is for state fees that would be remitted to another party upon collection; this portion is not a loss of revenue to the city.
Next, the board approved amendments to the 2017 operating budget in the refuse fund. In June, Public Works Director Brad Meyer came to the city commission with a request to approve a refuse truck bid. The existing truck experienced a catastrophic failure, and repairs would have cost over $10,000. As the truck was planned to be replaced in 2018, it didn't make sense to spend that much on maintenance. So, a replacement truck was purchased for $198,935. The funds were available to buy it since the refuse department had already been building fund balance for the purchase next year. Yet because the expenditure was not planned in 2017, this put the refuse department over their allowable expenditures for the year; a budget amendment had to be processed.
Then, the board of commissioners approved the sale of city-owned property at 1509 SW Highway 77. Randy and Delinda Brecheisen are the property owners residing at that address who are interested in purchasing 2.5 acres from the city. The land has been used to mine topsoil since the completion of the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) project. If sold, the city would remove embanked topsoil on the property, and the Brecheisens would convert the property into a pond feature adjacent to their home. The city is not guaranteeing that the pond will hold water, but there used to be a pond there years ago before it was filled in with dirt when the WWTP project was completed. The price of the lot is $11,363, based on a recent appraisal by Dave Sundgren. The money from the sale will go to the city's sewer fund.
In the reports segment of the meeting, commissioner Kendra Wilkinson revealed that Oktoberfest will be disbanded because of all the other activities going on at the same time. On another note, she added that Community Marketing Manager Molly Denton is going to be redesigning the city website over the next six to eight months to make it more user-friendly and informational.
After Wilkinson, Dillner mentioned that the Government Finance Officers Association has awarded El Dorado's finance department a certificate of financial achievement for both the comprehensive annual financial report and the popular annual financial report.
Dillner also informed everyone at the meeting that the police department is seeing an uptick in burglaries right now. He gave reminders to be aware and cautious in order to help prevent burglaries during the holiday season.
Before the meeting adjourned, the board cancelled the second meeting for this month, which would've been held Monday, Dec. 18. The next regular city commission meeting, and the first of 2018, will be Jan. 8 at 6:30 p.m.