Recommendations surfaced in the audit review provided by DeWitt’s Finance Director Deanna Rodriguez to the DeWitt City Council last week.

It was a clean audit, according to findings and there were no  disclosures or disagreements, Rodriguez said. The city has adjusted to better segregate financial duties, a common criticism of city offices with small numbers of employees.

An example of an adjustment is that the same person no longer reconciles accounts and also deposits the funds.

Bond sales and loan agreements topped council decisions. After a required public hearing, the council approved March 5 as the date for the sale of general obligation refunding bonds of $870,000. The action will result in refinancing the city’s road-use revenue bonds at a savings of close to $100,000 during the life of the bond.

A second resolution was passed to enter into a loan agreement and set a date to sell general obligation urban renewal bonds of $820,000 to fund the 11th Street project scheduled for this summer.  

The principal amount in both loan agreements is not to exceed $1.85 million.

The council set Feb. 6 for public hearings for two other loan agreements. The first concerns refinancing funds from the state revolving loan program to save $97,000 over 14 years for sewer bonds with the principal amount not to exceed $2.1 million. The second agreement is also for refinancing state revolving funds with a savings of $38,000 over 10 years for water revenue bonds with the principal amount not to exceed $900,000.

The council approved an agreement to receive Community Attractions and Tourism grant funds of $4,000 to market DeWitt’s new Central Performing Arts Center. A $4,000 match is required and will be paid from the Branding Committee of the DeWitt Development Company that has money on hand.

An application for funding LED retrofits for downtown lighting was approved for $79,539. The total project cost is $159,078 with the city paying a 50-percent match, including $59,619 in cash from local option sales tax and $19,920 for labor and installation. Mayor Don Thiltgen noted there was an eight-year return on the investment.

The council approved several department requests. The Public Works Department requested purchase of a new hammer at $10,500 to replace an often-used hammer attachment to the skid steer using equipment reserve funds. Also $2,500 from the Referral Center reserve will be used to replace the frame and double doors at the facility.

The final reading amending the code of ordinances to change the cemetery board to five members was approved.

The council denied the request of Dolores Bagley to waive her garbage fee on grounds that it would set a precedent and other citizens would also find reasons to apply for a waiver.

In the annual DeWitt Police Department report, Chief David Porter listed 4,365 calls for service, a decrease of 7.2 percent; 364 average monthly calls; 747 traffic warnings; 237 investigations assigned with 120 cleared; 148 people arrested; 321 days of animals sheltered; 2,368 building checks; and 1,883.75 reserve officer hours. The overall incidents of reported crime decreased from 419 incidents in 2010 to 377 in 2011, which is below the national average for cities of comparable size.

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