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Onalaska audit report gives city high marks

ONALASKA – The presentation of a certificate of appreciation to the Onalaska Church of Christ and annual review of the city finances audit were on the agenda when the Onalaska City Council met last week.

During the regular meeting, mayor Roy Newport presented a certificate of appreciation and achievement to the Onalaska Church of Christ, which since January 2013 has provided 565 free copies of the Bible to anyone who wishes to have one. Accepting this recognition were Elder Jerry Johnson and Deacon J.R. Young.

In other business, Darla Dear, representing the accounting firm of Belt Harris Pechacek, LLC, presented the audit for the period Oct. 1 2014 through Sept. 30 2015. The city received a rating of un-modified, the highest that the firm can rate a municipality for accuracy and transparence in reporting.

Dear thanked city secretary Angela Stutts for her preparation and help with the audit. Council accepted the audit. The final tally showed revenues of $1,353,772 with expenses of $1,257,683. This means that $154,089 was added to the fund balance which now stands at $1,208,623. A copy of the audit is available at city hall during regular business hours.

Police Chief Ron Gilbert reported the police department responded to 885 incidents and made 178 dispatched calls. Officers made nine felony and 35 misdemeanor arrests; issued 324 citations and 79 warnings; assisted the fire department once and Polk County Sheriff’s Office 20 times; drove 7,297 miles; and opened 65 new cases, including 10 that were narcotics or DWI related.

Fire Chief Jay Stutts reported the department handled 50 total calls in February, including 30 that were medical in nature. Firefighters also responded to six grass fires; four motor vehicle accidents; one each landing zone, lake rescue and mutual aid in Trinity county; and assisted other departments seven times. A total of 56 man-hours were spent in the county and 11 on city cases.

Building Inspector Lee Parish reported 12 new permits were issued and a total of 19 building inspections preformed during the month. As the city’s code enforcer, Parish tagged and notified five owners for code violations and a total of 14 structures are currently in various stages of remediation. There was one suspicious grass fire for Parish to investigate as fire marshal.

Librarian Sherry Brecheen reported the library had a total of 853 patrons who checked out 691 items and 313 who also used the computers. Income, mostly from copies and faxes, totaled $375.80. There was one replacement book cost of $25; $22.80 in fines were collected; and total donations were $30.95. There were 94.6 volunteer hours donated this month.

Two properties were set for show cause hearings, but one owner chose not to appear and one requested the city condemn the property in an effort to remove it from the appraisal district rolls.

The council approved and declared it a health and safety hazard. The property is located at Canyon Park 2, lots 229-230.

The second property is located at Kickapoo Forest Block 3 lot 20 and council, after viewing photographs and hearing Parish’s report, also declared this to be a health hazard and condemned it.

These actions clear the way to have the owners clean up the crumbling buildings.

Council approved the consent agenda consisting of minutes, vouchers and payments of invoices.

In public announcements, Newport reminded all of the upcoming Easter Parade and Egg Hunt on March 26, starting at 10 a.m.

He also noted the dog park fence is complete and only the gates need to be hung upon arrival.

“This should stop the dogs running loose in the park,” Newport added.