Last week’s Ely City Council meeting was packed, with several residents. Many stepped up and spoke during public comment.
Former city councilwoman Pat Robison spoke questioning the animal control monthly report. She commended the animal control officer but stated she feels the report should be more detailed. Linda Davies read a letter from Montie Liebsack regarding the continued use of the gas chamber.
A gentleman who said his name was Richard Lee Wade stepped up to speak about the changes at the landfill. “I’m here to chew you out…Are you going to have the sheriff’s there? I’m not going to show my driver’s license to anybody who doesn’t have a badge on them. Are you going to hand write a receipt for everyone here? I will not give my drivers license to a city employee.”
Mayor Melody VanCamp spoke up informing Wade that he didn’t need to worry about it as long as he has paid his bill up. City Attorney Chuck Odgers spoke up to informWade that this was not a city ordinance, when Odgers was interrupted by Wade , who said, “I don’t talk to the hired help .“
Odger quickly said, “ At the end of the day if you don’t show your receipt and your ID, and you dump in the desert, you get caught and you will see me in court.”
Wade continued on, with his remarks about Odgers saying “I don’t take advice from people I pay, by the hired help.”
The mayor finally shut down the discussion and Wade’s two minutes were up.
Judge Mike Coster gave a report for Municipal Court. Coster reported that they posted the Senior Court Clerk posted internally.
Councilman Kurt Carson said, “So are you gonna go with two part time clerks?”
Coster said, “Moving forward will be two part time clerks, the schedule will be modified,the court clerk’s and court’s window would be closed on Fridays except for on an as needed basis, and that’s been going on working without a hitch so far.”
When city treasurer was asked for her report, Janette Trask said, “It came to my attention that some people in the public think that the City of Ely is going to be in default by the end of this fiscal year. We are a long way from defaulting this fiscal year. To be in default the city would have to have a general fund ending balance below $68,500.”
Trask went on to explain that the projected fund balance for this fiscal year 2018 for the city is estimated to be around $302,000.
“It‘d be alarming to ever end a fiscal year that low of a balance,” she said. “The problem is the city has reduced the general fund balance over the last four years, by $632,212. If this trend continuous, eventually the city would be in default.”
Trask also included in her report t a letter addressed to the city council and mayor that mentioned that the cash flow for the General Fund at the end of January 2018 was a negative balance of $127,614.18.
A continuing issue that will have to be addressed before fiscal year end. She also note in her memo that the expenses for the General Fund departments are close to budget with the exception of the Administration, Finance and Public Works all being over budget.
Appropriations will be adjusted and on the next agenda for the Council’s approval.
Councilman Tony DeFelice, placed on the agenda an item to approve the first reading of Ordinance 711, Bill No 2018-04 amending the City Code Title 3, which covers the fee for temporary business licenses. This is in an effort to change the fees paid for spaces by nonprofit organizations from $10 per person to $2 per space.
As VanCamp read the agenda item, she included “from changing the fees from $10 to a lousy two bucks, a lousy, I mean, I’m sorry, $2.”
Odgers spoke by explaining how he modified the ordinance by the direction of the city council.
DeFelice said, “I think this is a good idea too. Randy Jackson, the president of the car club, told me that it seemed very difficult to come up with the money to hold his event each summer, and this will be a bigger relief for him as well and be a better turnout as well.”
Van Camp said, “We’re whining and crying about revenue and I’m a vendor too, but I shouldn’t say anything sorry.”
The mayor passed the gavel down to Sam Hanson recusing herself due to her being a vendor.
DeFelice made the motion to approve the first reading of Ordinance 711. Kurt Carson seconded the motion. Discussion began among the council. Jolene Gardner noted that she voted no on this issue the last time.
“Going backwards to $2 ,we are going to lose over a t$1,000 in our general fund from this,” she said.
Carson said, “Going from $2 to $10 is a drastic jump in my eyes.”
DeFelice spoke about the community losing this event by attrition. “We can stay on that $10 and have the potential of losing a great asset of summer events. My concern is that were taking an event that means more than a $1,000. This is commerce, there is money to be made by all.”
Hanson allowed for the public to take comments, and George Chachas spoke up about the event saying, “$10 may seem a lot but there’s ways of mitigating that fee, Tour and Rec Board gives out monies to aid organizations, these folks didn’t come before them. The Tour and Rec Board is paying $385,000 in salaries, they’re not promoting the community, in my opinion only, these folks, Arts in the Park, does something for the community, they should go and get money for advertising, and it’ll balance out.”
The vote was approved by DeFelice and Carson, with Gardner voting nay. Gardner said, “Me voting no has nothing to do with Arts in the Park, I enjoy going to Arts in the Park, I think about our budget, that is our main concern.”