Palmyra City Council gets good audit report

by Mark Cheffey

The Palmyra City Council Thursday got some good news and bad news from the annual audit report.

During the regular council meeting Thursday, Gary Luck of Luck, Humphrey and Associates, said the city was in good financial shape following the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

However he also informed the council he would not be able to do the city’s audit in the future after doing it for many years.

Palmyra stands to receive FEMA funding as requested by the city, and Luck said he is not able to do audits for municipalities that receive federal funding.

City officials are hopeful the city will receive federal emergency management funding to recoup costs associated with replacing two well pumps along with other equipment damaged by flooding in 2019.

Luck thanked the council for the “working relationship” they’ve maintained over the years.

In the future, the council will have to seek bids to perform the annual audit from other accounting firms.

In other business, the council  voted unanimously to set the city’s property tax rate at $0.6621 per $100 assessed valuation for 2020, unchanged from the previous year.

The city sets the tax rate annually using figures provided by the state.

The council also unanimously approved the street department’s purchase of a 2021 Freightliner dump truck at a cost of $86,985 from Midway Freightliner Inc, of Palmyra through a state bidding process.

Also approved unanimously for purchase by the street department was a John Deere brush hog from Sydenstricker in Palmyra for $3,473.

Unanimous approval was also given for the city to enter into contract with McClain Consulting, LLC to provide internet technology support to all city departments.

Under the contract, the city will pay a $300 monthly retainer fee to the firm for certain services such as obtaining quotes for hardware and software, answering questions by phone and certain other consulting.

The contract also sets out a  $120 per hour fee for larger project needs such as “extensive training, setting up new computers and server, integrating new systems, vendor management strategic planning, security assessments” and more.

It was reported the city of Palmyra had received a 100 percent favorable rating from MIRMA, the city’s liability insurance career following an extensive review of city property, and Dustin Smith, the city’s safety officer was given credit for the city achieving the highest possible rating.

Mayor Loren Graham reported paperwork is in the process of being written up for the city to complete the repurchase of five acres in the new Warren Head Business Park from Estelbrook Management which bought the property but was unable to development it over a specified time.

Council member Jeremy Warming, who chairs the Street and Alley Committee reported sealed bids are being accepted for 2020 street overlay projects.

Council member Pam Behring told the council she hopes the Palmyra Chamber of Commerce will consider canceling the annual Taste of Palmyra event, normally held during a Monday evening in late October, due to COVID-19 pandemic concerns.

She also asked the council to consider making the intersection of Main and Main Cross streets into a four-way stop for safety concerns.

She was told the question has been brought up in the past but has not been acted on due to the fact that Main Street is part of state-maintained Bus. Route 61/24.

Police Chief Eddie Bogue also noted southbound traffic would be stopped on a steep incline and that nearby business access could contribute to increased traffic tie-ups.