Mayor Jim Grier presented a state of the city report during a meeting held January 21. The report covered some of the accomplishments during the past year.
“It’s always good to look back to see where you come from to know how far you have been and which direction you are still going in,” Grier said.
According to Grier, the biggest accomplishment of the year would be the renovation of the Lula Depot Community Center.
“This has been quite an accomplishment, it was a monumental undertaking,” Grier said.
With plans for new water sources and extension of service lines, water and sewer projects also top the list of accomplishments during 2019. The city is in the process of transitioning a private well located off of Hwy. 365 for public use as well as extending sewer service in the area.
“That will open up a lot of opportunity along the 365 corridor for us and also give us the opportunity to replace an aging pump station,” Grier said. The city is also looking into the connection of two new wells. In addition, the city recently received EPD approval to move forward with a project known as Sewer Line I. Bid opening for this project will be held later this week.
In closing comments in the report, Grier writes, “Although much has been accomplished in 2019, there is more to be done in 2020 and beyond to continue moving forward with our vision for the community.”
In other business, Wayne Tuck with the accounting firm of Walker, Pierce and Tuck, presented highlights from the audit report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019. According to Tuck, cash intake increased by over $73,000 in the general fund and cash in the SPLOST fund was up over $390,000 from the prior year. General fund revenue was up approximately $150,000 over the prior year and SPLOST revenue was up by $78,000 over last year. Line item expenditures were pretty much as budgeted and anticipated, with exception to one area. Due to cost associated with renovation of the depot, expenses were up over $300,000 compared to the prior year. Tuck noted this was a one-time budgeted expenditure since the project is now completed. Even with this overage, Tuck said both the general fund and the SPLOST fund balance at the end of the year reflected an increase over the prior year.
Cash increase in the water and sewer fund was only up by $5,000. Long term debt was paid down with a current balance of less than one million dollars. Tuck said, as in the past, the water and sewer fund continues to be a challenge to the city. On the positive side, the charges for services to customers was up by $23,000 over the prior year but, connection fees were down from the prior year. Overall revenue within the water and sewer fund was down approximately $5,000 compared to the prior year. Expenditures within the water and sewer fund reflected an operating loss of $166,000, up from a prior year loss of $37,000. Tuck noted that one of the largest expenses within the water and sewer department is due to depreciation in the amount of $293,000.
In other business, the council,
•approved expanding the Railroad Day festival to two days. The festival will kick off on Friday evening with the showing of a movie at the depot and continue on Saturday with festival activities throughout the day.
•re-appointed Marvin Moore as Mayor Pro-tem.
•clarified the number of meetings for which the councilmembers and the mayor will receive compensation. Councilmembers will receive compensation for a maximum of four meetings outside the city and six meetings inside the city and the Mayor will receive compensation for up to five meetings inside the city and five meetings outside the city each month.
•received a request from a representative from Lula Grocery to consider holding an election this year with a referendum to ask voters the question of whether or not to allow Sunday alcohol sales within the city.