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Liquor report goes from bad to good

By Staff | Jun 21, 2010

Jeremy Germann

A draft audit for 2009 presented to the Wells City Council on Monday night was good news.

But, the results became even better the next day.

When Morey Schaefer of Abdo, Eick & Meyers LLP reviewed the audit with the council, he noted the municipal liquor store had posted an operating loss for a second straight year.

Schaefer told city officials another loss this year would require a public hearing to discuss the liquor store’s future.

Schaefer says the business lost about $27,000 in 2009 and around $6,700 in 2008.

But, Mayor Shannon Savick questioned if there actually was a loss in 2008 because $20,000 was transferred out of a liquor fund.

When City Administrator Jeremy Germann called Schaefer the next day about the audit, he pointed out making a mistake.

Savick was right.

“I just read the wrong line. The city has nothing to worry about,” says Schaefer.

The audit shows the liquor store actually had positive income of $13,235 before $20,000 was transferred out. Last year, the store had a loss of $14,982 before $25,000 was transferred out of the liquor fund.

Other audit results show:

• Last year the general fund balance increased by $87,272;

• Revenues fell short of expectations by $3,217 and the expenditures budget was underspent by $58,707;

• Investment earnings more than tripled last year to $19,973, compared to $5,211 in 2008;

• Net assets decreased $4,858, compared to an increase of $19,665 the previous year;

• Total debt decreased $290,496;

• The city ended the year with $4.5 million in unrestricted funds, which are reserves that could be used to make up shortfalls in other areas;

• There is $9.5 million more in net assets than liabilities.

“I don’t want anybody to get the wrong impression. It’s not like we’re rolling in money. We still have bills and LGA (state aid) cuts we have to deal with,” says Germann of the reserve and net assets amounts.

In other items, the council:

• Accepted the resignation of Austin Bleess, community development director.

Bleess will begin his duties today as Winnebago city administrator.

Councilmembers decided to interview their second and third choices when they hired Bleess.

One of the candidates to be interviewed is Marc Dennison, who was one of the three finalists for the Winnebago city administrator position.

Christopher Elvebak, community development director of Janesville, is the other candidate being considered for the position.

• Approved spending $6,000 from the airport budget to be used with a $30,000 state aviation grant to update the city’s airport layout plan.

Airport commission member Mark Schmitz says a new plan is needed if the city wants to apply for federal and state funding in the future to make improvements.

Schmitz says grant money was awarded to a select few airports in the state.

“We need to let them know by the end of August what we’re going to do. If we don’t take advantage of this opportunity, another city will,” he says.

The grant provides funding for an 80/20 cost share, with the city’s portion not to exceed $6,000. Funds are expected to be given out July 1 through July 1, 2011.