Pool prices, budget topics during Plains Town Meeting

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There were plenty of agenda items at last week’s Plains Town Meeting, with some updates, including the water leaks that appear to be getting better.

Mayor Dan Rowan opened the meeting, and then jumped straight into the standard housekeeping with council members.

Public comment was opened on the floor and the main topic of concern was the Plains Pool prices, and how they were affecting the water aerobics participants.

Due to a previous agreement, Rowan explained that he was in full support of the program, which helps a range of locals stay healthy and mobile; however, when the agreement of prices was made it was done in an informal manner.

A handful of locals took the opportunity to share the benefits, and why raising prices for the program would hinder those who required the program to bow out as the costs would be too much overall.

Council members heard the concerns, and engaged in a discussion to work out what could be done to both benefit the pool and locals that are on tight budgets.

Another pool subject discussed was the leak that seems to have returned. Due to its location it would prove to be a big repair project that is being put on hold until after the swim season.

Along with the leak, the return system also needs to be either repaired or replaced as it would not make it through another season.

In order to do these repairs, council members were advised that there would be a removal of concrete around the deck area and would have to be dug up to access the pipes and system.

Bid on new

patrol vehicle

Plains Police Chief Shawn Emmett advised council members that there are a handful of vehicles for a new patrol car out for bid, and he was hoping for three more in the new future.

The mayor’s report also touched on a number of items to update council members, and those in the gallery of what big issues have been addressed over the past month.

First was the finalization of the 2015-16 fiscal year audit. Rowan said the audit cites a few deficiencies, all repeated.

The report showed the following as stated by Rowan;

A — The lack of segregation is a continuing problem and will be for the foreseeable future because of the town’s small-staff office.

B — A cash/reconciliation deficiency was also noted. A significant amount of cash in the bank exceeded the cash recorded on the books. Although excess cash is not as much of a problem as a cash shortfall, it still indicates a significant deficiency in accounting records that needs to be corrected, according to the council.

C — The town again is in noncompliance in regards to the fireman’s retirement fund. Because of the 2017 legislative amendment that changed the formula for computing the retirement account funding, the town has gone from a $49,000-plus shortfall to a nearly $37,000 surplus.

D — The town’s AFR was submitted to the state late and needs to be submitted in the time frame required. It is once again recommended that the town hire a qualified outside consultant to provide assistance more frequently that the AFR requires. This recommendation has not been followed in the past; however, it is intended to have Craig Shepherd look over the town’s financial records as soon as possible. This fiscal year budget needs to reflect the additional amount required for these services. Additionally, the costs for auditing should be split equally between the general, water and sewer funds, according to the council.

Discussion of town budget

When it came to the preliminary budget, Rowan said at the meeting, ”The committee has met twice to work on the preliminary budget. We will need to meet once more soon. Terry Burke has informed me that the town needs to have a public hearing, and a meeting to pass the preliminary budget. To my knowledge this is something we haven’t done in the past.”

One of the last things Rowan spoke about during his report of the need of recodification stating, ”It has come to my attention that our ordinance books have not been kept up to date. We are working to rectify that problem now. The books need to accurately reflect current ordinances before we can finish the rectification process.”

He finished by saying water leaks had seen a great improvement as the Public Works Department was successful in locating a big underground leak within the city limits.

The total loss of water gallons pumped and sold was only 22.6 percent.

In new business, a motion carried by council for a skid steer purchase and dump truck trade-in. Dave Hattis of the U.S. Forest Service local branch also presented a small presentation to council members about the Sheep Gap salvage program. Hattis was requesting a letter of support for the local proposed project from council members — to which they agreed — and would draft a letter in the coming days of the meeting.

The next town meeting will be held Aug. 6 at 7 p.m. at Plains Town Hall. For full details on the July town meeting, you can contact Town Hall.

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