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Park Rapids' net assets increase, general fund balance remains stable

Park Rapids' general fund balance stayed the same in 2008. It is within the state auditor's recommended balance, which is important due to the Local Government Aid unallotments this year. (Source: City of Park Rapids)

From a long-term perspective, Park Rapids' finances got better in 2008, said Steven Wischmann, CPA for Kern DeWenter Viere, of St. Cloud.

Park Rapids' total net assets from operations increased by $992,327, according to the 2008 audit.

For the general fund, the fund balance stayed about the same, with a small deficit of about $22,000. The amount was transferred in to balance the budget.

For the end of the year, the general fund balance was $1,317,650. This is on the high end of the state auditor's recommended balance, which Wischmann said is good this year because of the Local Government Aid unallotments.

Most of the departments actually finished the year under budget, with the exception of a few, according to the audit. The city attorney budget went over by 35 percent. Some of the overages came from an assessment appeal with the 2007 bonds, legal matters pertaining to the new administrator search, new legal counsel started in 2008 and researching of some personnel polices.

Public safety also went over budget by about $4,907. This includes police, fire and inspections, such as building, plumbing and rental. The fire department went over budget by 15 percent, largely due to the increase in fuel costs, mileage and workers compensation insurance, according to the audit.

Public works came in over budget by $8,598. The increase in cost of fuel was the leading cause for this.

The unrestricted net assets for the following propriety funds are: sewer, $1,273,193; water, $1,538,438; and liquor, $923,735.

The liquor store had an increase in unrestricted net assets by $50,769. The increase was small due to transfers to the airport fund, and engineering and legal fees for Kaywood Trail, the downtown revitalization project and community center study.

The water fund had an increase of $615,155 and the sewer fund had an increase of $734,039.

Other financial highlights from the city's annual audit included:

n The assets of the city exceeded its liabilities at the close of the most recent fiscal year by $37,554,872 (net assets). Of this amount, $5,508,880 (unrestricted net assets) may be used to meet the city's ongoing obligations to citizens and creditors in accordance with the city's fund designations and fiscal policies.

n As of the close of the current fiscal year, the governmental funds reported combined ending fund balances of $3,952,162.

n At the end of the current fiscal year, the unreserved, undesignated fund balance for the general fund was $661,663, or 25 percent of the total general fund expenditures.