Molalla City Council receives good audit
Molalla Council Members opened their March 14 meeting full of good news.
The city's 2017 audit shows the city is doing well and Auditor Tonya Moffit gave it a clean opinion and the highest level an Oregon city can achieve. Moffit is a member of Merina & Company of West Linn.
"It's not just the numbers," she said. "If I asked for something, I got it right away in a timely manner."
She noted that the city is complying with public purchasing laws and its FDIC funds are adequate. Further, while a couple of fees are slightly higher than needed, the city is doing well, she added.
She suggested the city financial staff and council members be aware of compensated absences and accrued time off, assigning caps for these or giving it a "use it" or "lose it" status, even though the state has control of PERS. Council member Glenn Boreth asked about reserves and contingencies. Other cities compare to Molalla, she said, but larger cities can get into a deficit.
While Molalla currently doesn't have these problems, keeping off that list depends on the revenue stream; if that decreases then services may have to decrease unless the staff can find another revenue stream.
"We're seeing costs of labor increase across the state, but with a contingency it's alleviated," she said.
"Our staff has worked diligently and made sacrifices to get Molalla where it is today," Mayor Jimmy Thompson complimented noting that Molalla wasn't in this good of shape five years ago.
Public comment started the meeting off with a couple of people asking about the confusion over the water bills that occurred during the Feb. 28 meeting. The two speakers called late water billing "sloppy" and "hard to understand" and "confusing." Even though there was nothing on the agenda, the subject came up when City Recorder Kelly Richardson described that she was removing fees from the ordinances so that these could be more easily handled.
Richardson noted that the project was taking longer than she initially thought and hoped she would have it for the next council meeting.
City Manager Dan Huff also noted staff was putting together handouts and pictures for the web site asking people to not throw baby wipes down the toilet.
"We're telling people to only put the three Ps into toilets—pee, poo and toilet paper," he said.
Too often other items clog the sewers and it affects lift stations. He added that grease and pharmaceuticals don't belong in the garbage disposer. Grease and many food items belong in the compost.
City Council members also heard a report on the Transportation System Plan from Kittelson & Associates and the project advisory committee. The report showed the progress the committee has made since last July in determining the goals, objectives and funding sources and solutions. Currently, the committee is working on the draft and financially constrained plans, planning to draft the transportation system plan and its implementation language. It's proposed to be adopted this summer.
This plan follows a broad range of transportation modes from public to pedestrian to bicycles to cars. It's even looking into rail, air, water and pipelines—but not to a much lesser extent. From these, the plan appears to have a long list of solutions, such as increased efficiency of the transportation system to signals via supply and capacity. Access to management coordination would lead to efficiency of the system with a significant role in pedestrian and bicycle coordination by sidewalks, gaps in the network and crosswalks. And, bike coordination through on-street bike lanes, shared configurations and multiple paths and trails.
Transit solutions can take different routes boosting levels of service and freight as well as connections. While to make the most of motor vehicle traffic, it will take capacity, connectivity, mobility and access.
The next steps include a Project Advisory Committee meeting on May 3 with two community meetings following on May 10. One will be a community meeting and the other a virtual community meeting on line. Two joint planning/city council work sessions on May 16 and July 18. A planning commission hearing on Aug. 1 and the city council adoption hearing on Aug. 22.