Commission gets upbeat outlook on city’s finances

By Burk Krohe

City finance department representatives offered a generally upbeat assessment of the city’s financial status in advance of the 2013 budget season at Tuesday night’s work session.

Pam Jager, budget officer, focused on the city’s general fund, bond and interest fund and enterprise fund rates. Mayor Jim Sherow said the city’s finances looked healthy based on that snapshot.

Jager and Bernie Hayen, city finance director, said the finance department does not yet have an exact projection for the 2013 general fund and bond and interest fund budgets. Jager noted the budgets remained relatively flat from 2011 to 2012, but she remained hopeful for the possibility of increases.

Jager was encouraged by anticipated increases in beginning cash balances, or cash on hand at the start of the year, municipal court fee revenues and residential and commercial property valuation.

Sherow was curious about the higher than average sales-tax collections for the January reporting period. He asked what accounted for the $969,391 in gross receipts.

Hayen said the reporting period included two month’s worth of receipts from Menards. He said sales during November before the holidays, particularly on “Black Friday,” were healthy across the community, too.

Hayen also said revenues from intercollegiate athletics were “considerably up.”

“I think we can attribute that to a very successful football season, obviously a bowl game,” Hayen said.

He added that basketball ticket sales were up generally.

“It does show the impact the university has on the community,” Hayen said.

Overall, he characterized it as an indicator of a “pickup” in the economy.

“Now the question is whether or not we can sustain that,” Hayen said. “Hopefully we can.”

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