Isanti hears good news during 2013 audit

The city of Isanti received positive results on its 2013 annual financial report and management letter.

Matthew Vos, with Abdo, Eick & Meyers, presented the report during the April 15 City Council meeting. Following the presentation, the City Council approved the acceptance of the audit and management letter.

Vos noted the city’s fund balance decreased $248,295 from 2012. The city’s fund balance policy for the general fund identifies a minimum unassigned fund balance of 50 percent of the following year’s budgeted expenditures and transfers out. Vos noted the city’s ending fund balance succeeded this target level, since it was at 71 percent.

Vos noted the final budgeted amount for the city’s fund balance as of Dec. 31 was $1,554,185, with the actual amount being $1,920,968, a difference of $366,783. Vos explained the largest revenue variance was within intergovernmental revenues, which was $318,556 more than budgeted. He said this was primarily due to $313,359 received from local government aid, all of which was unbudgeted.

Isanti Mayor George Wimmer said, due to state budget inconsistency, the city doesn’t budget for local government aid and explained that any aid that comes into the city is budgeted for the following year. He explained this process was put into place a few years ago.

Vos noted revenues from property taxes were $75,875 more than anticipated. In total, expenditures were $55,831 less than anticipated on the $2.5 million budget.

Wimmer said in regard to peer cities, general fund expenditures are $541 per capita, while the city of Isanti is $474 per capita.

“In regarding to our general government administration costs, we are 28 percent less than our peer cities,” Wimmer said.

General fund expenditures include general government, $525,098; public safety, $1,267,859; public works, $405,663; culture and recreation, $175,626; economic development, $120,451; capital outlay, $980; debt service, $2,106; and transfers out, $49,255.

As for debt service, Vos said the city has $1.4 million in cash and $3.3 million in total assets. He said 75 percent of the assets are pledged to special assessments, while the other 25 percent is covered by outside taxes.

Wimmer noted the net debt per capita in 2013 is $485, compared to $826 in 2009, and $2,500 prior to him becoming mayor in 2007.

“Getting down to $485 net debt per capita is pretty significant,” Wimmer said. “In our overall budget, our debt payments are around 11 percent; a few years ago it was at 20 percent. Our overall portion of our budget relating to net debt per capita is looking great for us.”

The audit also provided a ratio analysis of a few categories. Wimmer noted in  regard to debt to assets ratio, Isanti was at 25 percent, while peer cities were at 33 percent. In  regard to taxes per capita, Isanti was at $354, while peer cities were at $480. In regard to current expenditures per capita, Isanti was at $492, while peer cities were at $649.

“Our taxes per capita were at 34 percent less than peer cities, while our expenditures per capita were at 28 percent less,” Wimmer said. “We are doing a lot with less.”

In other action, the council:

• Approved a resolution authorizing the replacement of snow plow truck and equipment at a cost of $165,026, which was a part of the 2014 budget.

• Approved $152,000 in capital improvements to the Isanti Community Center using $120,000 from the Ruby Johnson Trust that was donated to the city for the improvements. The remaining $22,000 will be used from 2013 carryover funds. Improvements relate to restrooms; kitchen; walls in the main hall; flooring in the hall, entryway and hallway; sprinkler system; handicap accessibility; lighting and electrical; facility equipment; parking lot; attic insulation; kitchen equipment; and miscellaneous supplies.

• Approved a resolution approving the conditional use permit and site plan-building appearance for the Art and Science Academy to be located at 903 Sixth Ave. Court NE. The Academy is proposing a 12-classroom charter school with a maximum of 260 students. The exterior of the building along with landscaping and lighting will remain as is. The parking lot will be restriped to facilitate easy traffic flow and a safe environment for students. A total of 25 parking stalls are required for the site, and the applicant has provided 43 stalls with room for an additional 14 future stalls.