At its recent meeting the Stratford City Council reviewed the audit for the year ending June 30,2013. Property tax revenues increased 2.93% due to an increase in the net taxable valuations for fiscal year 2013; not due to a city tax rate increase. Revenues increase in governmental activities were basically due to revenue deposited from a Rescue certificate of deposit that assisted in paying for a new ambulance;transfers from utility funds to assist in paying for bunker gear for the fire department and from the electric fund to pay for energy efficient LED street lighting. Governmental disbursements showed a $141,355 expense for the new ambulance and equipment;however overall disbursements reflected a decrease in the balance of expenditures of 4.30% or $20,964. Stratford's overall levy rate decreased from $16.34 to $15.91 from the 2013 fiscal year to the 2014 fiscal year.
The audit review continued with the proprietary funds. The water fund cash balance reflected the 2013 Water Main Project General Obligation bonding proceeds;expenses were paid out in the 2014 fiscal year and were not reflected in the audit report. The $8.50 water capital fee continues to be adequate for the water plant revenue bond. The electric fund rates were analyzed in 2012 and these rates continue to be adequate for operating and maintenance costs in this fund. The negative balance in the wastewater fund showed a decrease of $27,465. The wastewater debt fee of $4.00 per service and the lagoon revenue bond that was paid off the predominant factors in getting the fund debt reduced. The city continued its work towards a FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant for sanitary sewer inflow and infiltration problems. A grant was awarded for this project last August. The garbage and landfill fund cash balance showed an increase of $40,140 primarily due to a receipt of $36,349 as a result of Stratford's withdrawal from the Hamilton County Solid Waste Commission. The city council approved the audit report.
Stratford city council members met with Gregg Anderson of the Stratford Historical Society as he updated the council on his disassembly progress on the Linn Berglund cabin. Anderson mentioned that the cabin is completely down and in that process he graded the condition of the logs and found that more logs are in poor condition than in fair condition. He will be moving the logs out to the Anderson farm to store them. Anderson noted that the foundation of the building is solid and could be used for something else however he will be putting an orange fence around it for the winter and work on foundation cleanup in the spring. Anderson also said that the Swedish Foundation is interested in the property and in the cabin if it is restored and given to them.
In other matters, the Stratford city council approved the snowmobile route for the winter season. The council approved the re-grade and asphalt work at the intersection of Milton Street and Washington Avenue plus mill and asphalt work on Shakespeare Avenue from Goldsmith Street to Highway 175 with acceptance of a quote from Fort Dodge Asphalt in the amount of $111,924 for the two areas pending a competitive quote needed for horizontal infrastructure work.