Alva Review-Courier -

City Business Manager Angelica Brady hired for two more years

• Finance report shows remarkable cash improvement after her first year

 

March 21, 2021



Reporting on the Finance Committee meeting, Alva Councilmember Brandon Sherman said the city has $986,128.37 in the cash account and $1.6 million in investments. There was a larger cash balance in the cash account but $250,000 was transferred into the savings account for a balance of $390,497. He presented the report during the Alva City Council meeting Monday.

Sales tax collections, the main revenue source for the city, are down approximately eight percent for the year. “Due to our awesome department heads and Angelica’s (Brady) leadership, we have only expended 51.1 percent of our budgeted expenses and we have collected 65 percent of our budgeted revenue which is a little bit low,” he said. “We should be at 66.6 percent because we are two-thirds of the way through the year.”

He said the finance committee is looking at paying off some long term debts to save interest since the city has some cash available. They are also looking at putting a portion of the money into the capital improvement funds.

City Business Manager Brady explained that the $250,000 place in savings will be used to pay back the airport fund for money borrowed from that account. The agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration is to pay back just over $119,000 per year. “Our plan is to pay the $250,000 plus the $119,000 plus payment,” Brady said.

“If things go well, that should be fully repaid within three years,” said Mayor Kelly Parker. The payment plan is set up for a ten year payback.

Business Manager Evaluation

The improving financial picture for the city had a large part in the evaluation of the business manager later in the meeting. The council went into executive session to discuss the evaluation and then called Brady into the council chambers.

When the meeting reopened, Mayor Parker said, “We did discuss the performance of the business manager, and by and large the performance is satisfactory. We really appreciate the energy that Angelica has brought to our municipal operations and her commitment to do things the right way, her commitment to the people that work for our city, and her ownership of a year’s worth of quite a few different hardships from the pandemic to other tragic losses to weather events, financial problems. And I’ll just say it again, when you signed up for this position we had $20,000 in the bank, and today we have well over a million.

“You have really had vision for the direction that things needed to go, and you have implemented that with the people that work for our city and made some really great things happen in a really tough year.”

Councilmember Daniel Winters said, “I’ll make a motion to extend to Angelica Brady a two year contract with a full compensation package of $90,000.” Mary Hamilton seconded.

City Attorney Rick Cunningham stopped the proceedings to remind the council there was some discussion about year two of the contract. Winters then amended his motion to state that in year two, Brady would receive no less than the COLA increase provided to the rest of the city employees. Hamilton seconded the amended motion, and it was approved unanimously.

Hardship Program

Mayor Parker said the recent winter weather events caused people to have higher utility bills with faucets left dripping and waterline breaks. The water department was overwhelmed with a large number of calls to shut off water.

A comparison of water usage over six years showed many customers experienced an increase of 22 percent in their utility bills. Over 1,000 water customers experienced larger utility bills.

“Singling out customers is not something we can do,” said Parker. He said the city might consider establishing a fund to which citizens contribute voluntarily that would receive applications from those experiencing hardship with paying utility bills.

Winters said this problem was discussed four or five years ago. He said it’s a good idea and people could use the help.

Councilmember Randy Stelling said if a hardship fund is established, perhaps the city would attach information about it to the water bill so people will know how and where to contribute.

Hamilton said the city would need citizen involvement in establishing the parameters for applications.

Parker added that care will need to be taken so the city is not breaking the law. Stelling said it will take some time to develop the program.

Parker sent the project to the water-wastewater committee to begin the process.

Other Business

The council approved the change order reducing the total cost of the ODALS project at the airport. The total cost is not to exceed $191,927.50, a reduction of $2,797.50. This will allow the city to close out the grant with the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission which paid for the lighting system project.

Representatives to negotiate on the city’s behalf with the firefighters’ union were discussed. Parker said Hamilton and Stelling handled those negotiations last year. Both said they would be willing again so their appointment was approved.

In the consent agenda, the council approved February claims of $131,8i37.94 and payroll expenses of $193,869.71 along with March claims of $170,105.84 and payroll expenses of $208,091.46.

Goodbyes

With the municipal election on April 6 occurring before the next council meeting, three councilmembers were finishing their terms Monday: Chris Eckhardt, Dr. Bo Hannaford (who was absent) and Brian Wallis. Winters will be running for re-election.

With his wife and three children in the audience, Wallis said, “I’d just like to say to the citizens of Alva, I appreciate all the support. The comments of the citizens coming up to me the last four years have been inspiring. It’s been an honor to serve on the council.”

“I’ll add, I’ve really enjoyed the six years I’ve been on here,” said Eckhardt. “I hope you guys all have a good, smooth process going forward. It’s been a real enlightening learning experience and very valuable I feel like for me. Thank you.”

“I want to say thank you to both of you and Dr. Hannaford who isn’t here for everything you guys have done for several years,” said Winters.

“I like the different ideas, the different suggestions where we’re not all on the same page all the time,” said Hamilton. “It’s good to have different opinions, and we appreciate you guys.”

“Don’t be afraid to sit out there,” said Sherman gesturing to the audience seating, “and fill that two minutes at the beginning (public remarks time) that we never have anybody comment on. Just tell us how good of a job we’re doing anytime.” Council members laughed.

Mayor Parker said the council will probably see Eckhardt’s name on the agenda as he is interested in continuing on the library board. “I know that you who have served want to continue to do for your community,” he added.

Earlier in the meeting, Parker reminded outgoing council members they still need to show up at the April 19 meeting. The council will need to have a quorum to open the meeting so the new council members can be sworn in.

 

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