Monticello City Council approves fund transfers to FiberNet

City leaders have approved an additional transfers from the city’s liquor fund to support FiberNet Monticello operations and equipment.

The council unanimously approved $180,000 for capital equipment and $150,000 for operations earlier this week.

Councilmember Tom Perrault requested the transfers be removed from Monday night’s consent agenda for further discussion.

Perrault wanted to know why a previous amount of $210,000 for capital equipment was listed as a street lighting fund transfer. City Administrator Jeff O’Neill replied staff’s original intent was to have the transfer come from Wright County Cable Commission franchise fees deposited of the city’s capital revolving fund in 2009.

Mayor Clint Herbst asked O’Neill to explain. “The commission decided to distribute money to the various communities for whatever purposes those communities desired,” O’Neill said.

According to O’Neill, the cable commission franchise fees were dollars allocated to the city of Monticello without any strings attached.

At its Jan. 28 regular meeting, the council approved as an added item the $210,000 appropriation, which called for using franchise fees to purchase FiberNet capital equipment.

More recently, at its Aug. 26 meeting, the council approved an additional $180,000 for capital equipment, with financing from the city Liquor Fund.

The city’s liquor funds are unrestricted and can be used for any purpose, including FiberNet, Oberg added.

O’Neill stated in an Aug. 26 background memo that the liquor fund cash flow from operating activities is typically between $500,000 and $600,000 per year so there should be just enough money available from the liquor fund  to cover costs.