Minet reports finance upswing

MONMOUTH — Monmouth City Manager Scott McClure gave the council an update on the Monmouth-Independence Network at Nov. 6 council meeting.

Councilor Jon Carey is the representative to Minet ,but said he was not able to attend the Nov. 1 meeting.

“One of the things that happened at that meeting, that you should have received an email from me on, was the report of the first year of the five-year strategic plan,” Carey said.

Carey asked McClure to report on it since he was not there.

“Finances are doing really well,” McClure said. “Sales are pretty much standard. Operations, a couple of things. One was an interesting event, we had a pretty big outage in Independence and it was based on a squirrel dropping into a conduit box, and he couldn’t get out so he decided maybe he needed a snack so he kept going until he took out the fiber. Not the best idea on his part.”

He said they have 1,000 new customers on the new system.

McClure said “in the past, we were doing all the head end work” for a new system. “Now we are allocating to Minet and then Willamette Valley Fiber, so we’re already seeing those benefits moving forward there.”

He said a “key finding” in Minet’s five-year strategic plan is that “they’re exceeding all their targets. More revenue. Less expense.”

“That’s the core operation that is improving and getting better and better financially,” McClure said. “That’s not even adding all these new things with the new partnership.”

He added that Minet ran a projection for next May, when the next debt payment is due, and they “will be covering over 80 percent.”

Finance Director Janet Chenard said during the financial report that Minet is “making very good progress.”

She said the projected 80 percent debt payment combined with the “substantial payment that they’ve made already this quarter, they will probably be lower than $300,000 of the $400,000 that we budgeted that we would need to pay in from Power & Light, so that’s actually very realistic progress.”

Chenard said she has been attending Minet’s finance committee meetings and has been “very impressed with the progress that they’re making on the debt service.”

“They’re allowing for reserves in that,” Chenard said. “It’s not that they’re just willy nilly offering up of their cash reserves to us for that payment and we’re trying not to jeopardize the business model. That is looking very promising.”

In other business, the council:

Met in executive session under ORS 192.660(2)(i) for performance evaluation of officers and employees.

Approved a raise for the municipal court judge from $2,141 to $2,350 to be retroactive to July 1, 2018.

Approved $35,000 from the Special Capital Reserve Fund to the city hall/volunteer hall space needs and design project, making that total budget $45,000.

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