Saturday, January 28, 2023

Libby Council discusses camera for sewers, finances

by Rima Austin Western News
| February 8, 2019 3:00 AM

Keeping an eye on the plumbing

Libby City Council heard a proposal from City Administrator Jim Hammons Monday about the possible purchase of a camera for inpsecting the sewer main collection system.

Hammons said the camera would help city crews locate and isolate problems in the sewer system and determine exactly where to dig.

“The other good thing about this camera is it tells us exactly how far down we are,” said Hammons. “We can measure and get within six-to-eight inches of where the problem is in the street. That way, if we do have to dig it up, we can just dig up a small section and we can just fix it without tearing up the whole street.”

The city has contacted several companies selling the camera systems and software. The cost has always been the biggest hindrance toward buying the product.

The problematic areas crews need to clean out are increasing as time goes by, Hammons said. A section of the sewer main that runs along Mineral Avenue from 10th Street to Highway 2 — across from the Pizza Hut parking lot — has been getting progressively worse over time. Part of a sewer service line protrudes into a main sewer line.

“We went up there with this company and they ran a camera down,” said Hammons. “It ends up being a service line that probably, when Pizza Hut rebuilt their building or did some work there, it protrudes into the main sewer main about three-or-four inches. It’s an eight-inch main, so you know that blocks it pretty good.”

Hammons said this is just one of the problems with the sewer system in the city. A lot of the problems are from tree roots and others are problems with old, clay-tile pipes that are deteriorating, causing them to break apart.

Hammons explained to the city council that the camera system was a necessity. He said it is something that will be purchased later on in the year, but he wanted the council to be informed and prepared for the purchase. There was no vote on the subject.

Department reports:

•Fire: Four calls in the month of January. No major damage to report.

•Police: Arrests are down from last year.

•Lights/Streets/Sidewalks: Discussed paving projects and will meet next week.

•Finance: Annual financial report was added in council members’ packets, working on the 2017-2018 audit report as a result of auditor being behind.

Financial Highlights

According to Hammons’ office, governmental activities increased the city of Libby’s net position by $157,832 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018. Business-type activities increased the city of Libby’s net position by $350,570.

According to the city administrator office, the City of Libby uses fund accounting to ensure and demonstrate compliance with finance-related legal requirements. The general fund is the chief operating fund of the city of Libby.

At the end of the current fiscal year, total fund balance of the general fund was $555,157. As a measure of the general fund’s liquidity, the financial report said it might be useful to compare unreserved fund balance to total fund expenditures. Unreserved fund balance represents approximately 41 percent of total general fund expenditures.

Management of the City of Libby presented to the council the financial statements for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018.

•The assets of the city of Libby exceeded its liabilities at the close of the fiscal year by $23,479,138.

•The government’s total net position decreased by $192,738.

•At the close of the current fiscal year, the city of Libby’s governmental funds reported combined ending fund balances of $2,157,260. in comparison with the prior year decrease of $233,571. At the end of the current fiscal year, fund balance for the general fund was $555,157, or 41 percent of total general fund expenditures for the fiscal year.

•The city’s total debt increased by $158,308. during the current fiscal year. This was partially due to a new fire hall roof — which was replaced — and a new Volvo loader.

A full copy of the financial report can be obtained at Libby City Hall.