Annual audit bears good news for council, festival grounds project approved
Mitchell A. Skurzewski
Minneapolis-based CliftonLarsonAllen LLP presented results of the 2018 city budget audit to the city’s Common Council at the May 14 meeting.
According to the audit, the city has taken some very positive steps over the last two-years by investing in the city and is in a good spot financially on projects. It was further stated that capital assets increased by investing in the community and additional projects. The auditors also stated the city is in very good financial shape overall, has funds to redevelop projects and has invested in the community. The auditors added that Merrill is headed in the right direction by investing in infrastructure and the community.
As a result of the council approving a paving project Tuesday, May 14, the Merrill Festival Grounds will be getting some upkeep ahead of the Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo.
The grounds will be paved from the restrooms to Memorial Drive. The bid to pave the area came in at $85,000 total when it was expected to be $150,000. and TIF 3 money will pay for the area to be paved. There had been complaints about dust in recent years at the Merrill Festival Grounds.
“People got sand in their hot dogs for no additional charge.” said 1st District Alderman Paul Russell, of the dust issue.
Russell also suggested more paving on the west side of the park where the food and drink concessions are.
City Engineer Rod Akey said that there are a lot of problem areas, but due to cost, the city should do what they can now and the paving was approved.
In other news from the May council meeting, former 3rd District Alderman Ryan Schwartzman announced he would be throwing his hat into the mayoral race in 2022. Schwartzman resigned his post in August 2018, to spend more time with family.
Schwartzman said he always did what he thought was best for the city and has a sense of great pride from his time on the council. He said that the new fire department building was among many projects he was proud to be a part of, as well as supporting WiFi internet service throughout the city. Schwartzman further stated he only voted to spend money, if it was good for the city and its citizens.