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Jemison receives good financial and plant reports

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

The Jemison City Council received good news on June 15 as it received positive reports on its sewer system and a good financial audit for the 2019 fiscal year.

CPA Howey McNeil presented the audit report for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2019.

“This has been a very good year,” McNeil said.

He said the presentation had been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The city basically had total assets of $3,003,258 on the governmental side, $4,625,410 on the water and sewer side, which is our business side,” McNeil said.

The total liabilities for the governmental fund was $5,347,989. The water and sewer side fund had liabilities of $2,648,729.

“For our accounting purposes, our assets are list at cost,” McNeil said, explaining that some assets are worth more than this at market value.

Councilman Rex Bittle asked if the city kept track of the fair market value of its assets. McNeil said that is something he could do for this fiscal year.

When funds are totaled, the assets covered the liabilities. McNeil explained that the negative on the governmental side was partially because a bond was moved out of the water fund to the governmental fund.

“The city as a whole has positive equity,” McNeil said.

The way the government is required to calculate liability for the pension program also contributes to liabilities looking higher.

Tyler McKeller with Living Waters Services presented the annual pollution prevention report for the city’s sewer system. The report includes any improvements made to the system, any sewer rate increases for the system and any major overflows or violations to the sewer permit requirements.

All of these factors are taken into consideration to give the sewer system a rating between 0 and 783. Lower numbers are better on this scale.

“This year, the city scored a 36 … which is phenomenal,” McKeller said. “The three things that contributed to that were the age of the sewer plant … one high flow, where you had more water coming into the system than it was designed for … and then you had some high phosphorous issues.”

McKeller said the phosphorus issues have been fixed by adjusting the chemicals used to treat the water.

“A great report,” McKeller said.

The city spent $70,000 on upgrades in 2019.

McKeller said the city’s “due diligence” in addressing problems as soon as they occurred was a major part of the city receiving such a favorable report.

“We are simply elated to know this,” Mayor Eddie Reed said. “I don’t know where we would be without your expertise.”

He thanked McKeller and the company for all the work they had done monitoring the system and keeping it in compliance with requirements.

An update was also given on the completion of a project to refurbish a wastewater plant that was built in the 1980s. The refurbishment was approved after the city had to keep replacing parts on the old system.

“We came up with a process that would be less maintenance and if there did need to be maintenance done we could easily access it above the ground,” McKeller said.

This infused air system is estimated to save the city $3,000 each year in energy costs. The upgrades to the system cost $83,000.

McKeller said the system met regulations the entire time the upgrades were being made.

Also during the meeting, the Council approved:

  • Declaring a police vehicle surplus.
  • Giving the Jemison Public Library up to $1,500 to hire part-time help for a landscaping project. Cheryl English said the library would hire students at minimum wage.
  • Amending language in an ordinance to change to more generic language rather than a specific company for the police body cameras.
  • Accepting the roads in Sunset Cove subdivision as city roads.