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Perham city audit report runs down 2008 numbers

The numbers are in, and Perham city's ventures recorded financial successes in 2008--for the most part.

Liquor store sales were up nearly 31 percent--earning a profit margin of nearly 26 percent.

The city's natural gas company experienced a 33 percent increase in sales, with a whopping record of $11.8 million in sales for 2008. This compares to $8.8 million in sales in 2007.

The Resource Recovery Facility, the solid waste incinerator, also notched record revenues, at $5.2 million--mostly from waste-to-energy steam sales to Tuffy's and Bongards' Creameries. Operating expenses at the facility were $4.8 million.

An illustrated report, including charts and graphs, was prepared and presented by city financial officer Karla McCall.

The city council also received its annual audit report from its accounting firm Brady Martz.

In other information from the report:

Sewer and wastewater: For the past three years, the sewer fund has shown a loss. Revenues have increased only 2.5 percent; while expenses rose 6.9 percent. The losses, $58,890 in 2008, were a result of depreciation--but in terms of operating expenses and income alone, the sewer-wastewater operation showed $118,553 in income.

Water fund: A total of $555,154 in water revenues were collected in 2008, compared to $385,765 in expenses. After depreciation, the Perham water fund showed $169,389 in operating income.

Recycling fund: The city collected $68,649 in recycling revenue, against $63,479 in expenses. Total operating income, after depreciation, was $5,170.

All totalled, the city's various enterprises netted $24.3 million in revenue--against expenses of $23.8 million.

Also reviewed in the report was the annual performance of the Lakeside Golf Course and the Perham Area Community Center.

Community center: The center netted $834,844 in revenues, against $818,244 in expenses.

Golf course: Total revenues of $674,910 were recorded in 2008, with $816,568 in expenses. But because there was a negative balance carried over from 2007, the golf course operation's ending balance was a minus $104,508.

The city's general fund declined from 2007, and is likely to again in 2009--with loss of further state aid to municipalities due to the Minnesota state budget deficit.

Perham finished 2007 with a general fund balance of $451,386. But in 2008, the fund balance fell to $390,336. In percentage terms, the city's fund balance, which is in effect "reserve funds," fell by 6.9 percent. City expenses were actually down in 2008, by 2.1 percent.