Albany City Council, meeting in regular session last Tuesday, December 3 at city hall with all council members present, received some of the city’s most positive financial reports in a decade with a review of the 2013 audit report. The council also heard updates on some ongoing projects as well as discussing other issues.
The city’s auditor, Sammy K. Lee, reviewed the 2013 financial audit of the City of Albany, ending June 30.
Among noteable information is that the city’s assets exceed its liabilities by some $27 million and cash accounts have increased by a half-million dollars.
The auditor also noted a major step that helped the city financially was refinancing several bonds, which is now down to one bond debt, that will eventually save an estimated $900,000 over time.
The City of Albany itself has $1.7 million in assets and only $45,000 in liability, or debt, and the water department is also solvent, with $32 million in assets and $6.6 million liabilities, according to the audit. Lee summed it up as a “pretty solid financial statement.”
Councilman Delk noted it was the best shape financially the city has been in for a while.
The one area of concern mentioned, which seems to be plaguing all small governments, is the expected higher costs of offering employee health insurance–which is expected to increase again in 2014.
The council also heard an update on projects from Monarch Engineer David Bowles, who informed the council that a request that had been made to the Department of Transportation to relocate a water line and force main from a drainage pond, at a cost of $125,000 funded by the state, had been agreed to and work on that project will begin as soon as materials are on site and weather is suitable for construction.
The city continues to seek funding sources to have sewer service extensions to the new bypass interchange on Wolf River Dock Road (at a $400,000 estimate) and to extend the system to the new feed mill that is now under construction on Hwy. 1590 at a cost estimate of $150,000.
Council members also discussed the possiblity of looking into future funding to extend water and sewer lines to more areas along the 127 Bypass to offer as an incentive for future business and industrial growth along the route.
Bowles, who agreed to begin getting some initial cost estimates, recommended the council create a sub-committee to look into such a project, noting that once financing is applied for, it would take up to two years or longer to receive. He said a couple of possible sources where the city may receive matching funds would be from USDA and/or the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority.
Council Member Tony Delk said that if extending water and sewer service along more areas of the bypass would help bring more business and industry in, it would be worth pursuing. Bowles also added that the existing sewer plant had the capability of handling additional hook-ups.
Mayor Nicky Smith updated the council on the fire station project, noting the state had approved the $500,000 for construction and that after some documents are signed with the Lake Cumberland Area Development District, the project should be let for construction bids.
The mayor also told the council a different drug testing company had made an offer to do the random drug tests of city employees. The council agreed to look at options from both the current drug testing company and the other company for a cost comparison.
Mayor Smith then noted there was a problem in the city where animals, primarily dogs, are running at large and becoming a concern. He suggested a possible leash ordinance be put into place to keep animals from roaming the streets. The council agreed to have the mayor request the city legal advisor to look into drawing up such an ordinance, which would apparently be enforced by the police department if passed.
Finally, Mayor Smith said that apparently someone had been going to homes asking for money for the fire department or the Christmas at Home food and toy drive. He said, however, this was not authorized and possibly a scam and if anyone is approached for donations to contact local police.
The next regular meeting of Albany City Council is scheduled for Monday, January 7, 2014 at 5 p.m. at city hall and is open to the general public.