City expenses, budget continue to grow


Maple Lake City Council members were treated at their latest meeting to a professional dissection of the city’s financial state. At its regular meeting Tuesday, June 17, the council heard the city’s 2013 audit as presented by John Archer of Schlenner Wenner & Co.
Archer began with an independent auditor’s report on financial statements, telling the council that, as in the past, the city had been issued an unmodified opinion, which would have once been termed as “unqualified” or “clean.”
This year, he said, Maple Lake had additionally been scrutinized in what he termed a “single audit,” as the city had spent more than $500,000 in federal dollars. The extra audit, which focuses on compliance with governmental requirements, resulted in an unmodified opinion, as well.
“That’s the most important part of the audit,” Archer said.
Other categories to be tested for compliance included contracting and bidding, deposits and investments, conflicts of interest, public indebtedness, claims and disbursements, miscellaneous provisions and tax increment financing.
The audit was performed in accordance with both generally accepted and government auditing standards, which require an additional report of internal controls to monitor compliance with Minnesota statutes. With the exception of a deficiency in the accounting department due to improper segregation of duties (the norm in small communities), no compliance issues were discovered.
As a whole, the city’s revenues were down a bit in 2013, though large grants received in 2012 tended to skew the actual numbers somewhat and, while charges for services have risen, other revenue sources have remained largely the same. With a boost from Economic Development, costs such as the liquor store building purchase and the Platinum Plus land deal, total government-wide expenses climbed a little from 2012 to 2013, reaching the $5 million mark for the first time.
More information appears in this week's Messenger.