Wyoming’s audit found to be clean

Alice Pickering
Wyoming Reporter

The City of Wyoming was given a clean bill of financial health and is in good financial shape, according to Abdo, Eick, & Meyers LLP, the company which completed the 2012 Audit Report. Brad Falteysek, CPA, summarized the audit findings at the City Council’s June 18 meeting.

The audit reviewed procedures such as cash receipts and disbursements, payroll, utility billing, financial reporting, and capital assets. The main finding with this is the city has limited segregation of duties. This is related to a relatively small staff.

Falteysek categorized four categories of duties: authorization, custody, record keeping, and reconciliation. The city does not have enough staff for to assign a different staff member to each duty.

Falteysek detailed some of the overlap. He noted that the “limited segregation of duties increases the risk of fraud.” Management response is that it is aware of the deficiency.

According to the report, the city’s general fund balance is improved from 2011. Conventional recommendation is that this be about 50 percent of the city budget. It is the money that covers the city’s financial obligations until the first check comes from Chisago County each year. In Wyoming’s case this is 55.9 percent, or $3,398,918, at the end of 2012.

General fund revenues were $383,391 over budget. In large measure this increase is the result of more licenses and permits being issued, particularly building permits. Expenditures were under budget by $313,917. All departments were under budget for the year with the exception of public safety, with increased salaries, vehicle maintenance, increased costs for fuel and communication expenses. General government was under budget by $122,586.

There were comparisons between “peer group” cities; those with populations between 2,500 and 10,000. Wyoming compares favorably. The total expenditure per capita in 2012 was $377, compared to an average figure of $541. The largest chunk of this in Wyoming was $190 per capita for public safety.

The debt service funds report shows that there are three years left to wrap up TIF District 3-1. Bonds were sold in 1999 to pay for the Viking Improvement Project. For the years 2004-2006, nothing was levied to make the bond payments, even as payments were made. The city fell behind. Since 2006-2007, there have been larger amounts included in the city’s levies. Transfers were made from closed TIF accounts and the general fund. The levy amount is down to $130,600. The city plans to completely pay off the bonds in 2015.

The audit shows the city’s water fund has an operating loss for the past three years. About $186,000 of each year’s expenses relates to depreciation. Cash reserves increased about $100,000 in 2012, to $363,000. There has been a large increase in water access charges. Falteysek recommended annual rate review. Water rates should cover operating costs, scheduled debt payments, and planned expansion.

A similar analysis on the sewer fund also shows a decrease in the operating loss compared to 2011. A revenue increase is a result of the number of new connections to the system.

The storm water fund expenses decreased from 2011. This is because of $52,000 in engineering fees for the 2011 surface water management plan. Engineering fees in 2012 were $3,000. Revenue has increases because homes in the former township have begun paying storm water fees.

Representative ratio analyses were presented at the end of the report. Comparisons were between the city and the peer-group average, from 2009 through 2012. Group averages are not available for 2012.  Debt to assets for the city dropped from 19 percent to 16 percent. The group mean for three years was 34 percent down to 33 percent in 2011.

The amount of debt per capita for the city ranged downward from $849 in 2009 down to $594 in 2012.  For similar cities the debt has been at least $2,700 beginning in 2009, up to $2,826 in 2011.

Taxes per capita for city residents were $581, $495, $481, and $453, for the years 2009 through 2012, respectively.  The mean for similar cities show rates of $299, $458, and $500, for years 2009 through 2011.

Current expenditures per capita for the city for the four years have remained relatively steady at $396, $431, $378, and $376.  The same comparisons for 2009 through 2011 for the group were $625, $624, and $640.

Capital expenditures fluctuate annually, but the city’s per capita numbers were $662, $132, $74, and $206. Group data were $310, $265, and $229.

Load limit set

The City Council amended a city ordinance establishing five-ton load limits on some of the city’s roads. Among the roads identified are 250th Street (which is labeled 189th in Columbus) and Pioneer Road. The goal is to reduce the wear due to repeated trips with trucks carrying sand and gravel.

Dave Povolny, Columbus mayor, asked Wyoming council members to allow an interim use permit for a short section of 250th Street. Forest Lake Contracting trucks are hauling sand from the John’s Black Dirt site.

Wyoming Mayor Eric Peterson asked why Forest Lake Contracting did not use a south exit from the land. Peterson said 250th is barely wide enough for two belly-dumpers. It is a residential area, with many houses close to the street. One concern is impact of heavy traffic on the road, another is safety.

The vote was 4-0 in favor of the amendment to the weight limit.

Site re-zoned

Council approved the re-zoning of a section of the city at the intersection of Forest Boulevard and 257th Street. The area was once slated to be the site of an expanded North Lakes Academy. The estimated area is about 14.5 acres; in the southwest corner of the intersection, near Heims Lake. The zoning change is from Rural Residential to Office and Health Care.

The request came from David Kordonowy of Steiner Development Inc. acting on behalf of DaVita Dialysis. The Planning Commission recommended the re-zoning, finding that the designation will not create excessive demand on parks or streets; it is compatible with existing development; it is in the spirit of the city’s comprehensive plan; and finally it will not create congestion or traffic hazards. Approval was unanimous.

The council unanimously approved a conditional use permit to allow the construction of a dialysis clinic located on the property.

Referendum

Legal staff has completed research on notice provisions and other requirements to place a referendum on the ballot authorizing the issuance of general obligation bonds.

The proposed bond sale is to finance identified future street reconstruction projects. The referendum is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 27.

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