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Cokato receives clean audit; sets hearing for Cowgirl Tuff expansion
July 15, 2013

By Kristen Miller
News Editor

COKATO, MN – The City of Cokato was given a clean audit during last Monday’s council meeting, but was encouraged to take a closer look at the sewer rates in conjunction with future capital projects.

Overall, the city was said to be in “very good shape,” by Paul Harvego of the accounting firm Conway, Deuth, and Schmiesing.

The city’s total assets were $18,443,500 in 2012. That is $269,429 above the 2011 total. This was due in large part to bond refunding, Harvego noted.

The audit showed the city had an increase in revenues, ending the year at $1,064,77; roughly $250,000 more than last year. This was mainly due to the city collecting more in overall taxes and the redistribution of $74,000 in tax increment financing due to the de-certification of the industrial park.

The revenue also appeared greater as compared to the past two years, when the city suffered from the loss of the market value credit. In addition, delinquent taxes that had been paid off added to the increase in revenue for last year.

The water fund remains fairly consistent; however, the sewer fund was a bit of a concern to Harvego, he commented.

The cash in the sewer fund ended the year at nearly $500,000 less than last year, mainly due to the west side lift station and the sewer extension project on Lee Avenue and Second Street E., along with unanticipated costs associated with the pond cleaning.

In summary, Harvego said the city was doing an “excellent job” and recommended it look at the sewer rates, and a capital plan for future projects.

As recommended last year, Harvego also suggested the city continue to work on cross-training among city staff, complete with written plans.

City Clerk Peggy Carlson noted that there has been progress made cross-training in payroll and accounting.

Public hearing set for Cowgirl Tuff TIF plan

A public hearing has been set for Thursday, Aug. 22 at 6 p.m. for the proposed adoption of a tax increment financing plan for the proposed Cowgirl Tuff expansion in Industrial Park.

In the meantime, city staff has planned on meeting with the banking representatives, Cokato Development Corporation, and the city attorney to discuss a purchase agreement.

In related items, the council was informed of the next planning and zoning meeting set for tonight at 6 p.m. for public hearings related to the lot split at 175 Swendra Blvd, and a site plan/special use permit for the Cowgirl Tuff expansion project.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• approved a merchant license for Andrew Voelker to reopen the Edward Jones Financial Planning office at 115 Olsen Blvd.

• approved a license for the temporary on-sale of liquor and road closure of Millard Avenue for a street dance Saturday, Aug. 10 at the Iron Horse Grill & Saloon.

It was explained that in order for the dance to take place on city property, the event needs to be sponsored by a non-profit, which in this case is the Cokato Firemen’s Relief Association.

Council Member Butch Amundsen suggested the city be reimbursed the $250 for the liquor liability. “It shouldn’t be the city’s responsibility to sell beer,” Amundsen said.

It was noted that the city has yet to be paid back for this coverage from past events, and the Iron Horse also has insurance for the event.

• approved the purchase and installation of the replacement of the Prairie Park warning siren. The work will be done by Brandel Electric at a total cost of $20,950.

• approved a quote from Champion Coatings for $29,000 for water tower maintenance and repainting.

• rescheduled the August meeting to Thursday, Aug. 22 following at 6 p.m.

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