Council gets general fund projections

The Yuma City Council has been given a document from city administration showing recent history of the General Fund budget, as well as future projections.
It was presented to the council members during their regular meeting last week. All seven were in attendance, Mayor Ron Swehla, Mayor Pro-tem Marc Shay, and Tim McClung, Marylu Smith-Dischner, Terri Frame, Dan Baucke and Jerome Benish.

City Manager Scott Moore stressed that the future projections are just estimates and definitely are subject to change. He encouraged the council to study the document as it contains a lot of information, and to submit questions. The staff will do its best to get precise answers. The questions and answers will be discussed at the next council meeting, May 17.
It is a public document. Community members can request a copy at City Hall during regular business hours.
City Clerk/Treasurer Karma Wells provided some clarification in regards to the American Rescue Plan funds, and the airport budget.
Council members did have some questions and comments.
McClung said he has been studying the City Charter, and there are some services the city is required by charter to provide, and others are not.
“At some point we will have to prioritize,” he said, “deal with what we have to do versus what we wish to do.
Swehla encouraged the council members to go over the document and get questions submitted before the next council meeting.

More meeting
• The council unanimously approved the new liquor license for Route 36 LLC, which is doing business as The Corner Steakhouse, located at the intersection of S. Main St. and W. Second Ave. There was no comment during the public hearing held prior to the approval.
• The council made new appointments as representatives to the Yuma County Water Authority. Eric Metcalfe and Marc Shay were appointed, with Moore and Swehla approved as alternates.
• Blake Sewell, Shay and Swehla were appointed as representatives on the Yuma County Landfill Board.
• A resolution outlining an agreement for an electrical rate study was approved. The project will include a financial plan, cost of service and rate design study. The total cost is $11,500, with the city and the Municipal Energy Association of Nebraska (MEAN) splitting the fee 50/50. Council members requested the study include staggering any potential rate increase over at least two years.
• A donation of $523.26 from a 4-H club to the animal shelter was approved, as was a donation for $803 from Northeast BOCES to the Yuma Community Center for a tutoring service provided by high school students.
• Moore informed the council that the new jet fuel was delivered to the fuel farm at Yuma Municipal Airport. The final cost for 981 gallons was $15,017.66, which was above the “do not exceed” expenditure the council had approved last month. Therefore, the council unanimously approved a motion ratifying the earlier one to account for the actual price.
• Moore also told the council the cost to remove the old fuel and clean the tank came in less expensive than initially thought. He said the city was reimbursed for the fuel that initially was delivered, which turned out to be the wrong kind. That led to discussion about having the new fuel tested, which Moore said would cost around $3,000. He said the fuel company told the city a test was not necessary. He also gave an update on the valve replacement project at the wastewater treatment plant.

Family leave

City Attorney Kathryn Sellars held a discussion with the council about a new family leave program in Colorado that allows for paid leave. It is to be funded by a payroll tax, with the employer and employee each covering 50 percent of the tax. Employees would be paid between 50 to 90 percent of their regular pay for a certain amount of time.

The law allows for municipalities to opt out. If the city were to opt-in, then all employees would have to also. If the city were to opt-out, employees still can opt-in and pay their portion of the payroll tax.
Council members indicated the city will opt-out, leaving employees the choice to opt-in if they desire.
Sellars said she needed to have that direction because it takes a few steps to opt-out and it must be done by June 30. She also had a meeting with employees earlier in the day.