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By David Camphouse
Barry city council members heard the results of the city’s last fiscal year audit at the council’s Monday, Nov. 1, meeting.
Barry City Administrator Jeff Hogge reported that the results of the audit – conducted by Quincy’s Arnold, Behrens, Nesbit and Gray accounting firm – were positive in nature. The audit year ran from May 1, 2020, to April 30, 2021.
“It was a good report for us,” Hogge said.
Hogge reported that, for the most part, Barry avoided revenue shortfalls, which were predicted as a part of the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“By and large we were surprised,” Hogge said. “We really didn’t have much change in revenue, even with everything going on. We lost a little, but we did better than many other communities and better than what was predicted. We came out of it okay.”
One revenue source that helped the city last year was income from the city’s pool.
“This past year we had the pool open, and the previous year it was closed for the season,” Hogge said. “It increased our income just a little bit.”
According to Hogge, Barry’s revenue numbers for the past fiscal year were not skewed by federal pandemic stimulus payments, as all stimulus funding will appear in subsequent fiscal years.
The council went on to approve the 2021-2022 fiscal year tax levy ordinance.
“This just gives us permission to do so if we want to change the levy at all,” Hogge said.
Barry’s public works department, Hogge reported, has completed its portion of the installation of 11 new street lights on Bainbridge and Mortimer streets in Barry’s central business district.
“We’ve got the concrete poured and the poles set,” Hogge said. “Ameren just needs to come in and hook them up, put in the globes and take the old lights down.”
Hogge said that the project is subsidized by Ameren and is designed to improve the quality of downtown lighting, as well as to improve energy efficiency.
“Ameren pays for some of it,” Hogge said. “We use their equipment, and they change the lights. We’re just responsible for the work around it. The new lights will be LED. They should be more energy efficient and put out more light.”
Also approved by the council was the third payment for the installation of a new water main to the Ascend cannabis growing facility. According to Hogge, the water main installation is all but complete and awaiting final approval from the state to become fully operational. The third payment was approximately $209,000.
“The work has been completed by and large,” Hogge said. “The line is in.”
The final payment for the project, Hogge reported, is being withheld by the city until final site cleanup is performed by the contractor.
“We held out five percent,” Hogge said. “Next spring they’re going to come in and clean up the trenching.”
A work change order in the water main project, resulting from less materials being used for the project than anticipated, led to the contractor crediting $7,000 toward the project.
Council members also approved the 2022 schedule of city council meetings. The meetings will continue to be held on the first Monday of each month. Exceptions are that meetings will occur on the Tuesdays following July 4th and Labor Day.
In addition, the council approved the routine buyback of city employee compensation and vacation days.
“We do that every year,” Hogge said. “Employees can sell back up to two weeks of comp or vacation days.”
The Council tabled a discussion to possibly extend Front Street to the west and extend a city sewer line to accommodate the construction of a new home.
Hogge indicated that City Engineer Max Middendorf provided preliminary estimates on what the street and sewer extensions would cost. According to Hogge, if the council decided to approve the extensions, the city would be responsible for the street extension, and the property owner would be responsible for the sewer extension.
Finally, the city is moving forward with the process of hiring a new public works crew member.
“We took applications for the position until the 29th,” Hogge said. “We expect to schedule the interviews in the next couple of days.”