by Heather Reinhart
Representatives from the accounting firm Abdo, Eick & Meyers LLP praised the Zimmerman City Council for its solid planning during the regular council meeting on Monday, April 3.
“From our perspective, things went very well,” managing partner Steve McDonald said of the 2016 audit process.
The board’s general fund balance as of Dec. 31, 2016, was nearly $2 million, which is $400,000 higher than estimated. The additional revenue came from licenses and permits revenue being higher than expected due to increased commercial and residential building.
Public works expenses were also much lower than expected due to decreased personnel services, less supply purchasing and a significant decrease in other services and charges as less repair and maintenance activity.
Nearly 80 percent of the city’s revenue comes from property taxes and intergovernmental revenue.
“Overall, when you look at the future, there’s always going to be challenges, but at the current time, you have good revenues in the general fund,” McDonald said.
Audit manager Justin Nilson also shared the 2016 expenses per capita, which were $393. He compared this figure to a peer group average, which was compiled from 2015 information from cities with populations of 2,500 to 10,000. The peer group per capita was higher at $569.
The 2015 debt per capita was $809, which was much lower than the peer group average of $2,517, and the 2015 taxes per capita of $265 was also much lower than the peer group average of $510.
“From a financial check-the-boxes-of-the-good-things standpoint, you’re doing good,” McDonald said. “You have good long-term planning here and cash reserves.”
Zimmerman Mayor Dave Earenfight said the city has been proactive in raising rates ahead of time to prepare for future projects and hasn’t had to come back and ask for more money from taxpayers later. He praised the city staff for their efforts in putting the numbers together for the auditors and helping the audit process run smoothly.
The board voted unanimously to approve the 2016 audit report and financial statements as presented and approved the submission of the reports to the office of the state auditor.