Durham city chooses new accounting system

Contributing writer

Durham City Council member Gary Unruh explained the Quick-Books computer program to members at the March 5 council meeting, hoping to improve city accounting methods.

After discussion, a motion from Verlin Sommerfeld to use QuickBooks, and a second from Gene Duke, the motion carried.

“I would like the city to buy each member a three-ring notebook to keep monthly statements,” Unruh said. “Then if the computer ever crashed, we would have hard copies.”

Ed Flaming agreed with the idea and council members affirmed they already had notebooks for that purpose.

Mayor Mike Sorenson informed the council that the bank wanted a motion entered in city minutes stating that Lila Unruh was acting as city clerk, before they would accept her signature on city checks. Flaming and Sommerfeld led the motion to provide this documentation.

Council members discussed at length how to get trash pickup fees consistent for constituents and whether the city should raise their rates. Sorenson offered to contact Waste Connections to clarify the size of dumpsters at various businesses and to find out if charges varied with number of customers.

Flaming made a motion to raise city trash fees 15 percent above Waste Connections fees, in order to cover administrative costs. Sommerfeld seconded the motion that passed by majority vote.

A discussion on utility payments followed, focusing on how many residents were in the habit of paying Joyce Medley directly when she was the city clerk. Citizens can mail payments to the city’s post office box, but Unruh suggested placing a locked box at a convenient place for drop-off.

Duke suggested inquiring if David Hein would allow the night deposit box at the old bank building to be used for utility payment purposes.

“When I get my water usage report ready to mail, I could send a letter stating that utility payments must be mailed to the city,” Sorenson said.

Sommerfeld moved and Duke seconded the motion, authorizing Sorenson to write and send such a letter.

In other business:

  • Council members approved a motion to let Unruh get rock for small repairs and to gravel streets as needed.
  • Duke requested council support for the purchase of a storm siren. Unruh and Sorenson were not supportive but Flaming joined Duke in pursuit of keeping citizens safe in the event of a storm.
  • After a discussion of broken chains on the city tractor, Unruh volunteered to discuss probable cost with G & R Implement in town for repair.
  • Bills approved for payment included Hoch Publishing for ordinance publication and several workers for snow removal.
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