The Exeter Village Board met on Tuesday, March 7 with a lengthy agenda.
After approving the minutes from the last meeting and the invoices, the board invited Rose Pinkman with HBE to present the audit review.
As she opened she reminded the board that the audit was late last year because the former audit company quit doing government audits without notifying the village.
In her presentation she noted that revenues were down slightly in the general fund due to restricted use grant funds received in the prior year while water and sewer funds were up due to an increase in rates.
“You were under your budget which was a good thing,” explained Pinkman, “and there was nothing unusual in the audit.”
Chairman Alan Michl noted that “some improvement could be made on some of our outside accounts (fire department, cemetery board, etc.).”
Pinkman added “You are very fortunate to have a clerk like Becky.”
Michl concurred, adding, “People don’t realize it but most of the village clerks are also the administrator for the village. There is more to it than just books, you are dealing with the public, and making daily operation decisions.”
Board approved the audit before Michael Schultes with JEO Consulting came before the board to discuss two issues, first, the estimated costs to replace the water main close to Casey’s that broke last year and was temporarily repaired and second to present the “Limited Preliminary Engineering Report Wastewater Lagoon System.”
The board approved the engineering bid cost on the water main and directed JEO to set the project out for bids. The new main will have to be tunneled under Highway 6 and involve more permits and permissions because of the location.
They hope to get the utility locations done and approve a bid so that construction could have this fall yet. The engineering costs were estimated at $23,000 and the construction costs are expected to be around $70,000.
Schultes also reviewed the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit the village just renewed. He noted that two important changes were made on the permit. First, there is a new E. coli limit of 126#/ml from May 1 to September 30 and second, the ammonia limits were decreased.
These two issues, along with the age of the current lift station were the main focus of the report that Schultes presented. The permit allows the village a total of four years and six months to meet all of the ammonia limits with planning to be done in the first three years.
There were four options for the board to consider. First, which was deemed vital to the project, was revamping the lift station. Much of the equipment is original to the lift station from its construction in 1985 and is in need of repair or replacement.
The next three options the board reviewed addressed the issue of reducing the ammonia levels. The three alternatives include land application through a center pivot on cropland, building an additional lagoon and installing a secondary ammonia treatment and disinfection equipment to further reduce ammonia levels.
The board discussed several scenarios and agreed that the lift station had to be done.
Board member Justin Harre asked Schultes what he recommended they do. Schultes responded “If you can get a landowner you can work with that would be the best route. Otherwise you might have to expand your lagoon.”
Board member Bob Mueller concurred, “I think the lagoon expansion is the best, but how long is it before the feds come in and adjust your levels.”
Schultes reminded the board, “You have time, you don’t have to make a decision tonight.”
After thanking Schultes the board welcomed Kory Kahlandt to the table to discuss the village insurance policies. Kahlandt explained that the annual premium has decreased significantly but the carrier (EMC) now has a $10,000 wind and hail deductible.
The board briefly discussed the lot the Robeson family has approached them indicating they would like to donate the land. Due to some issues with the deed Mueller visited the courthouse to see if the the issues could be resolved. Mueller was advised that the best solution to the deed issue was for the village to wait and purchase the land for a minimum amount on a tax sale. The village will continue to mow the property.
The board approved applications for six lifeguards, a manager and several assistant managers. They plan to discuss wages at the next meeting.
The board tentatively set the date of May 20 for the Spring clean up dumpster. They also approved a $100 donation for Exeter-Milligan post prom and $750 for the scholarship all of which will come out of keno funds.
The board approved $1500 to the Fillmore County Development Corporation by a 3-2 vote (Mueller and Anderson, no).
The only business discussed during the Marshalls report was the current state of the Slama property the village recently purchased. Although the former owner has vacated the property the eviction notice must be served before the village can enter the property and take possession.
Village Maintenance Supervisor John Mueller reported that he had cleared all of the trash on the deck at the Slama property. He also noted that as the weather warms up he plans to putting the new batting cage up at the ball field and pressure test the main drain at the pool in addition to his other duties.
Clerk Becky Erdkamp shared that the sales tax for December $30,055.86 which included a large percentage of motor vehicle sales tax. Keno funds for January were $256.88.
The next meeting was set for April 4.