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BPW Receives Clean Audit at December Meeting

The Holden Board of Public Works (BPW) heard a financial analysis report in regular session at its December meeting.

The board heard from Butch Beeman, auditor, and he explained the recent audit results.

Beeman said it was a very good and clean audit. The audit is classified as a “Clean Opinion Audit,” which is the highest level of reporting that can be rendered on financial statements.

He went on to say, “The liabilities are down, which is largely due to paying off the old bonds and refinancing the balances. The assets remain steady, everything is in compliance, and there are no legal issues.”

Water Superintendent Tony Lerda asked Beeman how the board could address accounts that are overdue and that are uncollectable.

Beeman said, “The board will have to reach an agreement concerning the details of time and collect-ability, but ultimately, the accounts will have to be taken as a loss financially and written off as uncollected.”

Holden Councilman and BPW liaison Ray Briscoe inquired about the item that was noted under deficiencies as “Bartering Agreement” between the BPW and the City of Holden that referenced Liberty Link.

Beeman said that he would review the document further.

Lerda explained that the BPW receives rent payment from Liberty Link (for placement of their antennas on the water towers), and that the internet services were provided free of charge to other City offices in the agreement.

BPW Chairman Katy Barrett clarified that the rental portion is posted to an account specifically for water tower maintenance.

Lerda clarified that O&M Enterprises pays for the internet that the BPW uses, but City Hall, the police station and street department are the locations that receive the free internet.

In Recovery Act funding news, Lerda is working with City Councilman Jim McDaniel to define projects in which the Board of Public Works could utilize the Recovery Act monies totaling $435,000 that the City has sitting in their general fund for infrastructure improvements.

There are projects listed addressing I&I (inflow and infiltration), which is a major infrastructure improvement, as well as the main project, and several other possibilities.

Briscoe reported he is continuing to request from council that the Recovery Act monies be listed as a separate line item on the City’s financials so that there can be accountability and transparency for the funds.

Briscoe also explained there are still other funds to come in from the State, DNR (Department of Natural Resources) and block grants that will need to be considered.

He concluded by saying the SWMD-F will be opening grants for recycling projects in January of 2022, with approximately $800,000 in grants for the region and roughly $200,000 available for Johnson County.

In a water system update, Lerda told board members that Mother Nature surprised everyone with warm temperatures just as the chemicals were being changed over for the winter. “Although there is no danger, there has been a taste and odor situation due to an algae bloom with the 70-degree temperatures,” Lerda explained. “However, it is being treated and will hopefully improve soon.”

In old business, Lerda discussed the new Smart Meters and reported many of them have been installed.

He added they should see a big difference in water accountability in the future. “Customers are already showing appreciation for the software capabilities, because in the first three days, we were able to contact 18 customers to let them know it appeared that they had some type of leak,” Lerda said.

“This software allows you to look at the water flowing through a meter – down to the minutes.

These new Smart Meters will benefit every citizen.” The regular meeting of the BPW closed, to reopen in January.

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