Fountain's finances came up for review during the Thursday, March 6, city council meeting, during which Tom Wente, of Smith, Schafer & Associates, gave the 2013 audit report.

According to meeting minutes compiled by Fountain City Clerk Ronda Flattum, "The general fund unassigned reserves equal 142 percent of annual general fund expenditures. The local property tax collections were $156,097 and state local government aid (LGA) was $61,595."

The city's capital improvement fund has $78,407 for future capital projects, the equipment replacement fund holds $40,600, and the fire fund reserves stand at $75,276 for equipment purchases.

Fountain has a Minnesota Public Facilities Authority (MPFA) revolving loan balance of $867,000, but the sewer fund is not generating enough cash flow to service debts incurred.

Flattum's notes cited the "largest sewer expense is contracting the operations of the plant with PeopleService."

Snow removal woes

City maintenance foreman John Hanson reported to the council that while he's still willing to remove snow, there's simply nowhere left in town to put it - streets, intersections and right of ways have become clogged.

Councilors suggested contacting the Fillmore County engineer to inquire whether assistance in hauling the snow to the Fountain landfill might be available.

Hanson also asked whether a snowblower might be a feasible purchase, as he would like to attach it to the city tractor.

The council agreed with Hanson, keeping the request as a matter for consideration in the new budget.

Delinquent utility bills

Councilors then reviewed a list of delinquent utility bills, observing that the city's policy is to stop services to homes whose residents have not paid for three months.

A landlord attending the meeting asked that his tenants be given a less lenient period of time. The council acknowledged his request, going on to peruse the need for "appropriate timelines to provide water consumers written notice of their right to contest unpaid bills, water shut-off or certification of unpaid bills to the county auditor."

The council determined the city "establish a uniform policy when seeking payment for delinquent water or sewer bills."

Flattum and Fountain's police chief, Tom Mosher, will research the guidelines, policies and other documentation needed and bring the information to the April council meeting.

Police report

In his February police report, Mosher said he had dealt with several businesses receiving bad checks - with an individual issuing over $1,000 in bad checks. This was grounds for the matter to be turned over to the Fillmore County Sheriff's Department as a felony charge.

He also said he responded to a call for assistance regarding custody and assault at a residence, had done some public relations by allowing a young boy to tour the squad car as part of his birthday party, checked on two dogs that needed to be licensed and now are, and answered a call to help after a driver hit another car due to weather conditions.

Additionally, Mosher noted he attended building search training through the sheriff's department, and that he has upcoming training on April 26, the cost of which is $150.

The council voted to share half that cost with the city of Ostrander, where Mosher is also police chief.

AT&T agreement

The mayor, Richard Kujath, reported that Fountain City Attorney Kelly Wagner had reviewed the AT&T site modification amendment for the water tower - where AT&T would like to place an antenna - and deemed it to be a sound agreement.

However, the council asked Flattum to contact the company that power-washes the water tower, as concerns arose regarding whether AT&T's equipment would interfere with tower maintenance.

The council chose not to sign the agreement until Flattum has presented an answer.

Other business

The council will entertain company at its May 1 meeting, as students from the University of Minnesota will attend to review their capstone project of the city's wastewater treatment plant. With that established, the May 1 meeting will be held at 6 p.m. instead of the regularly-scheduled time of 7:30 p.m. to accommodate the students' travel.

Flattum also noted she will be in the office at city hall this week, March 17 through 20, from 8 a.m. to noon, hours differing from her normal schedule.

The council discussed whether to obtain a city credit card to be used for purchases of various small necessities. Flattum had spoken with First State Bank of Fountain representatives regarding what paperwork would be required, and Councilor Jim Schott suggested that a card with a $500 limit would suffice. The clerk will draft a city credit card policy for the council to review and for card users to sign so that those purchases can be made at the users' discretion.