Grambling City Council approves a pair of items

by T. Scott Boatright

The Grambling City Council Thursday night granted approval to increase the capitalization threshold for capital assets and approved an audit resolution for Municipal Water Pollution Prevention (MWPP).

Mayor Edward Jones made the request for approval to increase the capitalization threshold for capital assets from $1,000 per item to $5,000 per item

Grambling City Attorney Pamela Breedlove explained the request to city council members.

“This is requested by our accountants,” Breedlove said. “What it basically is that right now when the city buys anything if it’s $1,000 or more then it has to be listed as a capital asset and then depreciated over time. The $1,000 threshold is really too low for accounting purposes and it’s been recommended to raise it to $5,000.”

Breedlove said all items still have to be listed on the city inventory, so the move would just wouldn’t have to depreciate something like a $1,200 computer over four years but instead just expense it although it would still be accounted for in the inventory.

“That accountants have asked that we do that and from a compliance position is a good thing to do,” Breedlove said.

Breedlove said the move was being made to prevent accountants having to work and be paid for every year to spend time figuring a depreciation value on an item year after year until the item’s account balance gets down to $0.

“It does not mean that item is taken out of inventory because every city asset is required to be placed on the city inventory,” Breedlove said. “This is purely only an issue that makes it easier for the accountants to maintain our books without costing the city so much to make them micromanage stuff when the threshold should have been raised years ago. This is an outdated threshold.”

Jones added that the measure had nothing to do with any approval of a purchase by the city council.

“It just means that if we buy something that costs $1,000 (the city accountants) don’t have to take out their time to depreciate those items and then have to charge the city more money,” Jones said. “If we raise the threshold it takes the extra accounting time away from those things.”

That request was approved unanimously by council members.

Grambling Public Works Director Carl Johnson explained the MWPP audit resolution to the council.

“We do this resolution every year,” Johnson said. “It’s just an internal audit of our sewer collection and wastewater facility. Basically we audit ourselves and keep it on file at the sewer plant. It has to be approved every April. The resolution is on what we plan on doing for next year.”

The Grambling City Council approved the audit resolution unanimously.

Johnson then explained why a required letter was sent out to Grambling residents last month concerning water quality.

“On the 15th of March we had in Well No.l 4 in the chlorine tank room,” Johnson said. “The state came and pulled samples and they had two samples that were below the legal chlorine limit. The lawyers said that with two samples below within a two-month limit, we had to do a public notice. That public notice has not been sent yet because the state hasn’t sent it to us yet, but it’s coming.

“With that said there was no reason to issue a boil advisory because we checked and the sample passed,” Johnson said. “There was no bacteria in the water. We just have to issue the notice because of the violation. But the water is fine — no need for a boil advisory.”

Johnson then talked about Grambling’s sewer issues.

“Everyone knows about the construction at the sewer plant,” Johnson said. “Right now it looks like a junkyard out there. But we’re getting it. We’re probably about 65-70% done. The large equipment has not been installed. That’s what we’re waiting on.

“We do have a scrap metal pile and we do have some surplus things to sell when we’re done. But when they get done, we will basically have a new treatment plant. Then we should be good for another 15-20 years.”

Johnson said the sludge system has been redone and every electrical panel has been replaced.

“They’re replacing the water lines and redoing the chlorine chambers, and they’re readjusting the brushes,” Johnson said. “Almost every major piece of equipment was replaced. We have a grit chamber that probably hasn’t worked since the plant was built. I don’t think it was ever used and it just seized up because of that. But we have a new one.”

Johnson also explained the situation concerning city water valves.

“A lot of people think that when the water goes off there’s something wrong with their water,” Johnson said. “There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. Grambling doesn’t have water valves around town to isolate certain areas of the city. So when there’s a water leak, the majority of the time we have to cut the water completely off to fix it. That’s why the water goes down everywhere. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with it.”

Mayor Pro-Tem Toby Bryan then said that instead of using the term “water valves,” he would like to see them called cut-off valves.

‘I can explain that pretty quick,” Johnson said. “We have maps of the water system from when it was first put in. Water valves are supposed to be there. They’re on those maps. But the water valves were never installed, and that’s where the problem lies.”

Jones quickly reminded the council that the water system was installed before he was in office.

“Everywhere you go there should be a water valve near a fire hydrant,” Johnson said. “In Grambling, there are none.”

Johnson said that after funding for adding valves is received the city already has contractors in line to install them.

“It’s not very hard to do,” Johnson said. “What we’ll do is take every street in Grambling and put a cut-off at the end of every street. That way we won’t have to turn all of Grambling off anymore.”

Jones closed the meeting by talking about potential expansion of Grambling City Hall.

“We advertised for bids for $280,000 for the expansion to put three more offices and two more bathrooms in the facility. We’ve run out of room,” Jones said. “Last time we tried the bids came in over the advertised amount so we had to come back and delete some things that we wanted. Hopefully this time it will go through. So hopefully we’ll see that happen soon, because we’re bursting out of the seams growing. All of that funding comes from grants we applied for and received.”

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