Dear Editor,

While the city council is reluctant to discuss the 2021 financials of the city’s water and sewer funds, I found some information in the city’s 2021 financial statements that I thought were interesting.

In 2021 the net operating income of the water and sewer funds decreased from $799,000 in 2020 down to $118,000, a decrease of $681,000, a 85% decrease. Creating this decrease was labor and fringes of $$971,000 in 2020 increasing to $1,558,000 in 2021, or an increase of 60.5% of $587,000.

What was interesting to me was that the total city payroll for water and sewer employees, public utility employees and the 6 administrative positions at city hall equals about 24 full time persons of 49,920 regular hours. The salaries and wages of the $1,558,000 for the water and sewer in 2021 equates to about 44,400 hours being spent in the water and sewer funds, or about 89% of the 49,920 hours available. Leaving 5,520 hours paid by the city.

In full time ecity employees that means 2.7 of the 24 employees were paid by the city, while 21.3 of the employees were paid by the water and sewer funds.

I’m reminded of Footnote 8 that was included with the 2020 city’s financials that stated that in 2020 the city administration mistakenly prepaid $920,000 of estimated reimbursable labor costs during the year 2020, and that in early 2021 the city later determined that the city had mistakenly paid $445,000 higher than the true costs, ant the city had to record that excess as an advance.

Mayor Crouch announced in 2020 that the previous administration made unjustifiable transfers in excess of the true costs of over $3.2 million during the 8 years ending December 31, 2019, which is an average of $400,000 per year. Then is 2021 the city also used the $445,000 advance to help cash flow the city. Now the city is saying that during 2021 the city did not have to use any of the extra cash profits of the water and sewer to balance the city’s governmental budget.

Given the decrease in net income of the water and sewer funds and the increasing costs, can the citizens expect a possible increase in the water and sewer fees in the upcoming year?

Larry Weldon,

Cherrytree

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