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Wakefield housing director claims city owes $87,266


August 28, 2018


Wakefield — Sherri Graham, executive director of the Wakefield Housing Commission, used the public comment section of Monday’s Wakefield city council meeting to present council members with a typed report showing the city allegedly owes the commission $87,266.78 due to adjustments in electrical billing rates.

“In the last two weeks, I pulled every check,” said Graham of the financial analysis she was inspired to undertake after realizing differences in the city’s multiplier rates. Graham’s concern is over rates specifically charged to Sunset Manor, the city’s public housing unit at 200 E. Pierce Street.

Graham gave each member of the council a copy of her 10-page report and said, “I have forwarded this to the director of HUD.” She added she feels sure HUD will want reimbursement for any billing errors made.

When Graham brought up the matter at a previous meeting, mayor John Granato said the city has a number of electrical issues he expects to be addressed by the council and outside experts in the near future. He said problems with billing software were among the issues.

At Monday’s meeting, Graham requested a response within two weeks.

The council also:

—Voted to close the municipal building to the public on Sept. 12 so city staff can set up documents in the new storage room.

—Voted to pay Nasi Construction all but an industry standard 10 percent holdback for the company’s $37,000 bill for work in creating the storage room.

—Voted to seek a new member for the city planning commission due to the resignation of Bethany Anderson, who now has other commitments.

—Voted to pay architect John Larson up to an estimated $2,730 to prepare a study on architectural engineering services relating to the municipal building’s roof drain system. Brackney said he also expects Larson to have a cost estimate by the council’s next meeting on work related to the city’s Quonset hut.

—Heard from Brackney he expects the main lift station to have one new pump within about 12 weeks. He said a temporary pump now is in place of a pump that malfunctioned.

—Voted to order new windows for the municipal building at a cost of $15,732 for Wes Nasi Construction LLC in Hurley, $31,320 for St. George Glass & Window of Iron Mountain, and $3,000 for the additional cost of using tempered glass for gymnasium windows (community room). The companies expect to have all work complete by the end of October.

—Voted to order five fire hydrants from Core & Main of St. Louis, MO, at a cost of $12,755.

—Heard from Brackney that the city may be eligible for more than $11,000 through the Federal Emergency Management Agency for costs related to this year’s June 15-18 storm.

—Heard from Brackney the city has mailed out letters regarding roof drain compliance and have received some replies from persons who believe they already are in compliance or believe they have resolved any problems. He said the city will monitor conditions during “future rain events.”

—Voted to write off $5,046.86 in unclaimed utility meter deposits from closed utility accounts. Brackney said attempts had been made to contact departed residents and most amounts are “decades old and in small amounts such as $7.50 and $4.75.” He said the funds will be credited to the electric and water fund as miscellaneous revenue.

—Heard complaints from council member Pat Mann regarding Brackney’s report that four utility poles so far have been installed and completely hooked up, with old poles removed. Mann said she requested 12 poles be installed back in June and added she now wants to discuss the issue in a work session.

—Heard complaints from the audience about some city lots being unmowed and some vehicles being unlicensed.

Coming up on the city calendar are the following items:

The Wakefield-Bessemer Rotary Club will host its annual Labor Day Walk on Sept. 3, with registration starting at the John Siira Pavilion at 8 a.m. and the walk starting at 9 a.m. Coffee and doughnuts will be served after the walk.

The next city council meeting will be on Sept. 10 at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers of the municipal building.

The planning commission also will meet on Sept. 10 at 4:30 p.m. in the same location.


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