AUBURN — Auburn city government is in “the best financial condition in its history,” according to hits financial consultant.
Gregory Guerrettaz of Financial Solution Group gave that assessment in a Nov. 26 letter to Mayor Norm Yoder and Clerk-Treasurer Patty Miller. Yoder read the letter at Tuesday’s meeting of the Auburn Common Council.
Auburn’s assessed property value increased by 6.69% from one year ago, an increase of $40.7 million, Guerrettaz said.
As a result, the city’s portion of local property tax rates will decrease in 2020 for the fifth straight year.
The letter said the state Department of Local Government Finance has approved the city’s 2020 budget.
Later in the meeting the council approved a $5,000 contribution to the DeKalb Humane Society fundraising campaign for a new animal shelter southwest of Auburn.
Councilman Kevin Webb at first proposed giving $3,000 to the shelter and $1,000 each to the police and fire departments. He said the public safety departments could use the money for their training centers and for supplies used by volunteers.
Police Chief Martin D. McCoy said he appreciated the offer, but his department did not need the $1,000.
“You guys have treated us well in our budget,” McCoy said about the council. “We’re doing well.”
As for volunteer officers, McCoy said, “We’re already buying their equipment. … That’s within my budget.”
Yoder said the Auburn Fire Department also is in solid financial condition, adding, “I would assume they would have the same stance,” as McCoy.
Council members then voted to donate $5,000 to the humane shelter project.
“It’s truly a benefit to us,” McCoy said about the proposed new shelter.
“Having a strong shelter helps the police big-time,” because officers deal with animal complaints, City Attorney Erik Weber said.
As the councilmen approved city expenditures, Councilman Mike Walter noted the payment of $11,357 to the DeKalb County clerk’s office for expenses of conducting the Nov. 5 city election.
Walter also pointed out a payment of $95,590 to Signature Construction, owned by Mike Ley, who won election on Nov. 5 as the city’s next mayor. Ley will take office Jan. 1.
Signature Construction was paid $62,108 for a storage building addition at the police department firing range in southwest Auburn and $33,482 for renovations to Fire Station 2 on South Grandstaff Drive.
Walter said he hopes Signature Construction will not be working on city projects after Ley becomes mayor.
“Our company, Signature, does not intend to do any city business … beyond the first of the year,” said Ley, who was watching the meeting from the audience.
Ley said he intend to follow state laws about conflict of interest “to the T” when he becomes mayor.
Yoder will retire Dec. 31 after 20 years as mayor.
Webb said the council is planning a public reception to honor Yoder following its Dec. 17 meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. in City Hall.
Another public reception honoring Yoder’s retirement is scheduled for Dec. 19 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall.