The St. James City Council met Tuesday, July 2 during their regularly scheduled monthly meeting and went through the 2012 audit report.
The auditor reported to council members that the city is in a "pretty sound financial situation." He added that city staff does an excellent job and makes the work putting together an audit report a good and smooth experience.
The 2012 audit report showed the general fund revenue has increased from $2,376,989 in 2011 to $2,648,705 in 2012. However, expenses have also increased from $2,417,542 in 2011 to $3,331,017 2012. According to the auditor, this small difference in the general fund where expenses have overcome the revenue is right where the city should be.
All funds are where they are supposed to be with the exception of the wastewater plant funds which have been running in the red recently. Mayor Gary Sturm said the city is working to fix that problem.
The St. James EDA is also showing some decline in its revenue. The EDA receives some money from Watonwan County. It was supposed to receive $30,000 the first year and $24,000 last year, but actual amounts coming from the county have been lower – last year at about $20,000.
Mayor Gary Sturm praised the job the EDA is doing for St. James and other cities it represents and urged the public to write their county commissioners about the importance of the EDA to the community and county.
The audit report was approved unanimously.
St. James Fire Department members requested a $75 per year of service raise. With this raise, the fire department would receive $5,750 more from the city.
Money is invested and paid out to retired members of the fire department.
"You guys and gals from the fire department do a ton of work for the community," said Mayor Sturm.
Council members approved the $75 increase unanimously.
Fire Chief Jason Monnens also brought the new thermal imaging camera to the council meeting to show what their fundraising money went toward. The new camera cost $12,000. This camera can pick someone out of a fire from as far as the eye can see and has several different settings to take photos and video of a fire.
The water department requested the purchase of a pipe and cable locator at Tuesday's council meeting. It is a non-budgetted item, but necessary for the water department to have for upcoming projects repairing water mains and water services, said Water Superintendent Mark Sturm.
The water department collected three costs of pipe and cable locators with the lowest cost of equipment coming in the form of the Viva VLoc Pro 2 at $3,700.
"Now that we're looking at some major projects, we'd like to go ahead and purchase it," said Water Superintendent Sturm.
The equipment will be used to locate lines for the highway 4/30 project in upcoming years.
Page 2 of 2 - "I don't think it's an unreasonable request," said Council Member Mike Banks.
The council approved the request unanimously.
City council approved the previous meeting's minutes unanimously.
Council members approved the police department request to send Officer Hanson to four day field training in Roseville.
The city is now in compliance with pay equity and received certification from the state.
There will be a major construction project taking place from 10th Ave. N from Armstrong Blvd. to 11th Street and from 11th Street from Weston Ave to 10th Ave. N. There will be an informational meeting on July 10, 2013 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
"It's going to be a real challenge for us," said City Manager Joe McCabe, who added that this will be good preparation for larger construction projects taking place in the next few years.