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Perham financially stable, audit shows

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News Perham, 56573
Perham Focus
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Perham Minnesota 222 2nd Avenue SE 56573

A recent audit shows the city of Perham is fiscally fit, and continued economic growth is likely.

The city is financially ahead of where it was at this time last year, according to the audit, with an increased fund balance and assets that exceed liabilities.

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Brady Martz Certified Public Accountants and Consultants audited the city's 2011 financial statements. All governmental and business-type activities were included in the audit, as well as major funds and other aggregate remaining fund information. The Perham Area Community Center and Perham Golf Course were not included.

Results were shared with city councilors at a meeting last week by Brady Martz representative Tracee Bruggeman, who said the audit revealed "no instances of non compliance or other matters that are required to be reported."

The audit showed Perham's assets exceeded its liabilities by more than $29 million at the close of the fiscal year. The city ended with a total net position of $29,864,672 - up about $25,000 from the same time last year. 

Its general fund increased by about $70,000, partially due to revenues exceeding the budget.

"It's nice to see the fund balance is going up," commented councilor James Johnson.

The library and liquor stores also saw more revenue than expected; the library's fund balance increased by about $15,000, and the liquor store's by more than $150,000. Auditors attributed the liquor store's growth to a new, larger store, convenient access, and new location near Highway 10.

The gas fund, sewer and wastewater funds also increased, partly due to high flow and loading levels in 2011, which brought in higher revenue, as well as a rate adjustment made to cover the upcoming expansion project at the wastewater treatment ponds.

A negative balance of about $6,000 in the fire department fund "wasn't a surprise," said City Manager Kelcey Klemm, since Perham recently made some major purchases in this department, including a new truck and 800 megahertz radios. That deficit - along with a deficit due to the Highway 10 and County Road 34 interchange project - are expected to be eliminated through future revenues.

"Generally, the economic conditions of the community are stable," according to a statement in the audit. "Job growth and property valuations are steadily increasing. Future years will require additional bonding for construction projects related to replacing and improving existing infrastructure and utility extensions to keep pace with the community's continued industrial, commercial and residential growth."

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