Residents approve Linwood’s 2015 levy, budget

Independent committee to oversee Family Fun Day financials


Alice Pickering
Linwood Reporter

At the Linwood annual meeting on March 11, residents approved the 2015 levy of $1.5 million, the amount recommended by the Town Board. Approval was unanimous by a voice vote.

Supervisors strived to keep the levy steady without affecting the level of service. The township’s levy has been set at or below the $1.5 million mark since 2009, dropping to $1.42 million in 2010.

Four public budget workshops were held before the annual meeting. Brent Lee, former board chair, served as moderator for the meeting. About 120 residents attended. The 2015 budget was approved in the amount of $1.72 million, which is an increase of about 2 percent.

Auditor Peggy Moeller, HLB Tautges Redpath, Ltd., summarized the 2014 audit for the audience.  Moeller said that the overall budget is the same; however, allocation between departments may be different. An increase of $20,000 in the Park and Recreation Fund is the result of $5,000 transfers from four other funds; General, Road and Bridge, Fire and Senior/Community Center.

Projected fund balances for the end of 2014, expressed as a percentage of the expenditures, are General Fund, $447,426 (114 percent); Road and Bridge, $557,937 (99 percent), Fire, $62,801 (26 percent), Police $225,872 (103 percent), Senior/Community Center $134,167 (139 percent), and Park and Recreation $9,081 (13 percent).

Moeller explained that the financial health of a city or township can be measured partly by the fund balance at the end of the year. The conventional wisdom is to have about 50 percent of the year’s budget as a reserve at year’s end. This provides cash flow for the paying the bills between June and December tax checks from Anoka County. An additional 10 to 15 percent is recommended as a contingency for unplanned expenses. Overall, Linwood is in good financial shape, Moeller said.

The township is beginning to develop its Capital Project Fund. In 2014, $15,000 was part of the Road and Bridge budget. A like amount is budgeted for 2015. Supervisor Bob Millerbernd observed that one of the township’s trucks is 20 years old and another is 15 years old. Truck repairs are becoming more frequent and expensive.

Supervisor Mike Halliday explained the rationale of including Linwood Family Fun Day as a budget line item in the General Fund. This amounts to $20,605. Plans are to continue the event as in past years.

Most of the expense has been covered by fund-raisers, donations and sponsorships. These may continue under the auspices of a committee independent of Linwood Township. Any funds raised would be used to offset the cost of the community celebration. This is a result of recommendations by the Minnesota State Auditor that were discussed at a special meeting held about a week before the annual meeting.

County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah commented that improvements to 205th Street are planned. This project has been a long time coming, and cooperative arrangements had to be worked out with the Department of Natural Resources.

Sivarajah also told the crowd that residents can contact Anoka County regarding mailboxes that have been damaged by Anoka County plow trucks.  Asphalt plants are gearing up with hot mix and pothole repair will begin in earnest, she said.