Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Kimball Event Center is strong community asset

Kimball City Council heard they were doing a good job keeping costs down at the March 20 City Council meeting. Michael Hoback of Almquist, Maltzahn, Galloway and Luth, CPA, presented the audit report for the 2016-17 fiscal year.

Hoback reviewed the funds in each budget for council, as well as, revenue and expenses. Each of the utilities are operating within their prospectives budgets and all show increased revenues, according to Hoback, but most of them do not currently have the cash reserves needed for unforeseen issues.

“This kind of suggests that we maybe need to look at our rates and those funds that are not generating the profit that we recommend to build cash reserves and have the equipment replacement,” Hoback said. “You can see that is why we have deficits in the water and sewer (departments), the rates are probably just a little low in those.”

Following the budget review, council voted to return grant money that has been on hold for renovations to the Kimball Event Center, as suggested by a committee formed to evaluate the potential to match funds and renovate the building.

City Administrator, Dan Dean, told the council that the committee formed to evaluate grant possibilities for the Kimball Event Center was effectively disbanded after completing their mission.

That committee recognized that the community is unable to match grant funds and make necessary updates to the building. They recommended the council return the grant money to the state so it can be used by another municipality.

While the aging building needs substantial renovation, the City continues to operate the Event Center as is. Some upgrades are planned, though minor, such as new paint and light fixtures.

“It (the Event Center) has substantially improved,” City Administrator Dan Dean said. “I think it is important to note that it is a strong community asset and even though it may not totally break even, if its not hemorrhaging like it was in the past. It is valuable to people in Kimball.”

Council’s final action of the night was to accept the resignation of longtime member James Schnell, who is also past Mayor. Schnell is moving out of Kimball and his seat is currently open.

“I’ve had a great group of people as employees and coworkers. We have done a lot of things that have been great. It’s nice to know there are people out there who will roll up their sleeves and help out things like the Event Center,” Schnell said. “To all of you that have filed, remember when you have filed for any public office, you are a public servant. Thank you.”

Mayor Keith Prunty said he would not appoint any person who has filed for City Council this election year, so no one candidate would have a real or perceived endorsement.

Council set a special meeting for April 4 at 4 p.m. to hear Prunty’s appointment.

Other action taken by the council:

Received the 2016-17 fiscal year report from Kimball Public Library.

Approved a Keno grant for Kimball Banner County 4H Council in the amount of $1,000.

Heard from Heather Entingh regarding Kimball’s parks and security cameras, as well as, Positive Spaces and future improvements.

Approved the Board of Public Works recommendation for transformer protection upgrades at the South Substation at a cost of $31,685.

Approved bid from E-1 for the Kimball Landfill phase 2 project at a total of $630,083.98.

Heard from Marc Munford with Ameritas and approved a 15 year bond for combined utilities, including the landfill project, recommended by the Board of Public Works.

Modified the fee for a conditional use permit to include expenses incurred by the City of Kimball.