RC budget gets high marks

ROGERS CITY – With $562,224 in its general fund balance, Rogers City is in solid financial shape despite drops in taxable values and state revenue.

Ken Talsma of Anderson, Tackman and Co. told City of Rogers City Council members the city received an unqualified and clean opinion, meaning it followed accounting laws and practices and its financial statements accurately reflect the city’s position. It’s the best possible opinion, and a bit of good news for Mayor Beach Hall, Mayor Pro Tem Deb Greene and council member Dana LaBar’s last meeting as city officials.

While the city’s tax revenues dropped slightly from last year and state grants dried up, the city’s various funds are all in the positive.

“It looks like you guys are living within your means and managing your budget pretty well,” Talsma said. “You’re working with the revenues you have to work with.”

While the city’s fund balance only grew by around 4 percent, from $539,363 to $562,224, it’s double what it was in 2009, Hall said. Talsma said municipalities typically want to have 15 to 20 percent of annual expenses set aside as a rainy day fund of sorts, and Rogers City’s fund balance falls within that range.

As taxable values within the city fell, so too did taxable revenues, Talsma said. They fell to $1,240,633, down from $1,263,884 in 2011 and $1,244,874 in 2012. In other communities, Talsma has seen previously falling tax revenues even out, and even start to rise in others.

“Hopefully that’ll happen for you guys as well,” he said.

State revenues took a much larger tumble, from $962,672 in 2012 to $620,477 in 2013. Much of that drop can be attributed to grant funding that was no longer available, including the state’s Vibrant Cities fund. The state also cut its revenue sharing to the city by about $30,000. With the Economic Vitality Incentive Program replacing statutory revenue sharing, Talsma said it might be hard for some municipalities to meet the requirements set forth for EVIP.

Of the city’s expenses, Public Works took up the most money at $576,945 in 2013, according to the audit. It’s down slightly from 2012. The city’s wastewater treatment plant took in $1,198,823 in charges for services.

Talsma also said the city’s books were in good order when his firm looked at them. Council member Gary Nowak lauded city employees for their solid work, and made it official by making a motion other council members unanimously approved.

Overall, Hall was pleased with the news, citing it as proof that the city’s finances are on the mend.

“The general fund reserves are up to where they ought to be, and we’re prudently controlling our expenses and doing the best we can on revenues,” he said.