by Dennis Dalman
Sartell received a glowingly positive audit report for financial year 2016.
At the April 10 city-council meeting, an overview and critique was presented by Steve Wischmann, audit partner with the St. Cloud-based financial firm of BerganKDV.
He told the council the city has earned the “highest level of assurance” deserving of “congratulations.”
No financial controls are ever perfect, he noted, but Sartell demonstrates “very, very good internal controls . . . very clean and very accurate.”
The auditing process, which began months ago, went very smoothly with great cooperation and management from city staff.
Wischmann was profusive in praise for Sartell Administrator/Financial Director Mary Degiovanni.
“Mary and her team did a great job keeping books nice and clean . . . very efficient, consistent in budgeting,” he said.
Among the highlights as noted by Wischmann are the following:
- The tax-capacity rate, which is less than those of surrounding cities, has been consistent throughout the years, and the city has done a good job managing it.
- Local government aid to Sartell was only $139,000, and Wischmann praised the city for adapting and becoming less reliant in expecting increases in LGA.
- The expenditure of city money was $305 per capita, up a bit from the year before but still considered quite low – the lowest of the surrounding cities.
- Water and sewer services are beginning to be a bit more self-supporting.
- The stream of income revenue was 3 percent above budget expenses, which Wischman termed a “very good variance.”
- The city’s fund balance is $3,811,000, which is slightly higher than required.
- The biggest categories for expenses, as expected, were public safety, public works and parks and recreation. Total expenditures were $5,243,000 for 2016.
- The city maintain a good debt level and ample bonding capacity.
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.