Alva's $2.8 million loan among pooled funds is paid off
January 20, 2023
“For the first time since roughly January 2020, the General Fund has a positive pooled cash balance, which means that all arears to the various funds that totaled $2.8 million dollars have been effectively paid off and accounted for in approximately two and one-half years,” said Finance Committee Chair Daniel Winters. He was reporting to the Alva City Council Tuesday night, Jan. 17.
“That was some great news to have. There is some money that needs to be transferred into the airport account that hasn’t been transferred yet, but it is accounted for within the fund in pooled cash,” he said. “That’s above and beyond the 5 percent we’ve been setting aside so we actually have a start on the capital improvement fund now as well.”
Back in May, 2020, the city council received the FY18-19 audit report which showed that $2.8 million budget deficit. The auditor, done by Angel, Johnston & Blasingame, PC, stated as of June 30, 2019, the city’s General Fund owed other funds over $380,000 and the AUA owed other funds over $1.8 million. Some of the funds borrowed from other accounts came from the Alva Regional Airport stockpile of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grants. The city received approval of the FAA to pay back those funds including interest over ten years.
Winters said as of Dec. 31, 2022, the city had a total cash balance of approximately $3.6 million. “We’re right on track with the revenues in both the General Fund and the AEDA (Alva Economic Development Authority) with expenses being slightly below where we would expect to be at this point,” he said. Although the AUA (Alva Utility Authority) is “significantly behind on revenues for budget”, he said that’s due to loan revenues included in the budget but not yet received. Removing loan related revenue and expenses, Winters said the AUA has an increase in revenues. The city received $434,352.79 in sales tax revenue for the month.
Mayor Kelly Parker reported the city had a meeting with REAP (Rural Economic Action Plan) and will be starting on the final engineering for the Locust Street waterline. When the city prepared the street for resurfacing, it was discovered the waterline under the street was in bad shape and needed to be replaced. Work on the street was halted while the city looked for a grant to help replace that line. The REAP grant is for $75,000 with the city providing the in-kind $13,000 requirement through the work to install the line. It’s hoped the grant will pay for waterline replacement on Locust St. from College Ave. to 8th Street.
“We received word that we did receive the $1 million ARPA grant. This is a grant, not tied to a loan,” said Parker. He said the grant through OWRB (Oklahoma Water Resources Board) will be for a 16 inch water supply line. The $1 million will cover replacement of approximately a mile of line that comes from the wellfield to Alva. The replacement will be in the Hopeton area, replacing the worst section of the current line.
Crawford and Associates, the accounting firm handling financial reporting for the city, and the Oklahoma Municipal League are putting on a budget workshop in Stillwater on Jan. 27 that Parker plans to attend. Next week the city will be starting the FY23-24 budget process with department heads.
The Congress of Mayors will be held Feb. 9-10 in Midwest City. Parker said council members are invited to attend along with the mayors.
Parker said the runway lighting project is not yet ready to go out for bids due to waiting for FAA and engineer work. He said it will be funded up front with airport funds and later reimbursed by the FAA. He said cracks in the runway from ground heaving are not affecting traffic at this time, but the engineer will be looking at it to help the Airport Commission form a plan. “Ideally we’re fixing the runway at the same time they’re putting in the lighting so we’re not down (runway closed) for a long period of time,” Parker said.
The mayor said he talked with Gail Thomas of OEDA who will be doing the capital improvement plan and inventory approved by the council last fall. She is getting ready to start the work, beginning with the water and sewer system.
Parker thanked Bill Johnson Correctional Center for sending some inmates to help with the waterline repair east of Alva near the BJCC facility.
On Monday night, Jan. 16, Alva had a sewer issue in town. The city’s equipment is not working, but within 20 minutes the City of Mooreland sent their equipment on the road to Alva. The sewer line was opened up quickly. Otherwise, Parker said the city would have needed to hire an emergency contractor who wouldn’t have been able to dispatch until 8 a.m. on Tuesday. He said the sewer line was “up and running” before a lot of people went to bed Monday night.
Regarding Winters’ report on the general fund cash balances, Parker said, “It’s a huge, huge accomplishment, and I want to make sure and express my appreciation to all of the city staff, past and present, that have been part of the sacrifice and the extra effort to help us get things back to where they should be and moving in a better direction.”