by Dennis Dalman
The city of Sartell is in excellent fiscal shape, according to an audit summary delivered to the city council at its April 9 meeting.
Steve Wischmann, a certified public account for the firm of BerganKDV, used the word “excellent” repeatedly in outlining the results of the audit for fiscal year 2017.
As in previous years, Sartell received the highest level possible, described as a “clean audit.”
Among the salient points of the audit:
There was a healthy result in tax capacity (5 percent increase) and in the tax levy (up 5.5 percent from the year before.)
The general revenue fund increased by $244,000 from 2016 to 2017, for a total of $6,633,000, with a $270,000 increase in property-tax revenue.
Spending increased by $272,000 from the previous year, up about 5.2 percent. Total expenditures were $5,516,000.
Sartell received a small amount in local government aid in 2017, only $147,000.
The city’s fund balance grew by $340,000.
Sartell, once again, was the lowest city for property taxes among the five cities in the greater St. Cloud area.
“Those are very good numbers,” said Wischmann, referring to his report’s highlights.
He praised the city staff for good communication in working through the auditing process, with special praise for Sartell City Administrator Mary Degiovanni and for Heidi Ostlie, the city’s new financial director.
Ostlie, Wischmann said, has relieved Degiovanni of much of the financial work she had done in previous years when she was doubling up as administrator and financial director. In previous audits, it was noted Sartell should do more to segregate accounting duties by having more than one person do them. With the hiring of Ostlie, great progress has been made toward that goal, Wischmann noted.
“It’s good you have Heidi on board to help out,” he said. “She did a very, very good job and hit the ground running.”
Mayor Sarah Jane Nicoll thanked Wischmann for his presentation.
“And kudos to staff,” she said.
Author: Dennis Dalman
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.