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Polk County Enterprise - Local News

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Onalaska finances earn top audit marks


Enterprise staff

ONALASKA -- The City of Onalaska's audit of its 2016 budget year finances earn an unmodified opinion — the highest rating possible — from the outside auditing firm, according to a report received by the city council last week. Darla Dear, an accountant with Belt, Harris, Pechacek LLP, reviewed the audit report with the council and thanked City Secretary Angela Stutts for her work and having the software ready to go for the audit process. Dear pointed out that the city revenue was $1,444,690 and total expenditures were $1,300,987, well under the budgeted amount. When added to the previous fund balance, the new balance for the city's reserve fund is $1,318,274. She added the city is in a very healthy financial condition. Council accepted the report and a copy will be available in the city office during normal business hours. Just prior to the audit presentation, council approved a budget amendment for $47,010 for salaries. Normally the council recognizes citizens at the start of the meeting for items not on the agenda. Council member Chip Choate thanked Mayor Roy Newport for his help in disposing of a boat, dropped and abandoned on a subdivision road and Carl Cruse thanked Newport for his help and equipment cleaning up after Monday morning's storm. Periodically, the Texas Railroad Commission advises gas suppliers in Texas to increase their rates. Onalaska Water and Gas, Inc. reviewed their fee structure and asked that all entities in their service area to file a resolution denying any increase in the natural gas prices it charges local clients. Ordinance 17-002, passed by the council, accomplishes that goal, turning down any increase. Police Chief Ron Gilbert presented the police department's report and noted his officers responded to 84 dispatched calls and 819 other incidents. They made four felony and 16 misdemeanor arrests, issuing 169 citations and 127 warnings. The K-9 dogs worked 34 hours for training and were called out one time. Gilbert also reported he learned that there is no requirement on the number of hours reserves work; the department determines how and when they are required to be on duty. Fire Chief Jay Stutts reported for the fire department, noting they responded to 46 calls, with 35 of them medical in nature. They covered three each MVA, structure fires, automotive accidents and assistance calls. Stutts reminded everyone that they need firewood split and that they will need servers during barbecue week, April 26- 29, with the big auction on Saturday from 1 p.m. until closing. They will begin serving on Wednesday at lunchtime. Building Inspector and Fire Marshall Lee Parish reported 12 building permits were issued, four for modifications, two each for modular and residential, one each for electrical and institutional and two certificates of occupancy. The fees were $4,981 and included the new track facility at the high school. He added there were three warnings issued, with one is already back in compliance, and there are five pending cases open for unwholesome conditions. There were no fire investigations this month. Parish reported the first Onalaska Market Days were successful and that it will be open May 19-21. He said there will be some local growers selling fresh produce, in addition to the craft and food booths. The library board reported that the summer reading program would be from May 18 to July 29. The program participants will meet every Thursday evening at the park on Onalaska Loop for activities. The theme is "Build a Better World" and t-shirts are $10, with all funds going into the program. Registration begins May 1 and for information or to register, contact the library at (936) 646-BOOK. Librarian Sherry Brecheen reported the library had 1,208 patrons, an increase of 13. There are 9,285 items available for borrowing and the library was open 23 days in March with a circulation of 1,135 items and 235 computer users. Fees, copies and faxes brought in $486 and fines paid were $48. Volunteers contributed 43 hours working in the library. There was an item on the agenda regarding an agreement with Polk County that would allow the county to deny certain motor vehicle registration if the owner had outstanding warrants for failure to appear for violations of traffic laws. Mayor Newport asked that council take no action and they will re-visit it at a later meeting. During the meeting, council approved the consent agenda consisting of the minutes, financial reports, and vouchers.


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