Lancaster approves city’s 2019 audit

By Anna Jauhola
The city of Lancaster is averaging a good increase in revenue each year, according to its 2019 audit.
The Lancaster City Council met virtually over GoToMeeting for its regular meeting on Wednesday, April 15.
The group heard from Gordon Dale, CPA, who completed the town’s audit.
“The total receipts are $1.3 million. The change in net position is $50,702. It increased that much for 2019,” Dale said. “The profit margin for the city was 3.76 percent. In my opinion, unless you have a need for major projects going ahead, 3 to 4 percent is OK.”
The council agreed with Dale’s assessment and was happy to hear the city also gained $60,000 from the city’s three enterprise funds – the liquor store, sewer and water fees.
Over a three-year average, the city collected half its revenue from the enterprise funds and 11.2 percent from its property taxes.
The city has also been collecting quite a bit through economic development loan repayments.
“That’s a good thing for the city because that means there are businesses growing in the city,” Dale said.
Dale also spoke briefly to the council about ensuring internal controls. He stressed the benefit of good internal controls is to catch any problems that occur and being able to mitigate those problems.
“Having good internal control is so an employee can discover an error or irregularity in a timely manner in the course of their ordinary business,” Dale said. “Carol (Johnson) is acting as your internal control to detect errors.”
The council approved the audit as presented.
In other business, the council:
• Discussed and approved donating the city’s old lawn mower to the Riverside Golf Course in Lancaster. In March, the council approved purchasing a new lawnmower and trading in the old one for a discount. After that meeting, the golf course management asked to purchase the old mower.

The council agreed the city should support the golf course by donating the mower, especially should the COVID-19 pandemic shutter or slow its business this summer. The council rescinded its motion from March 11, which approved purchasing a new mower and trading in the old one. The council then approved purchasing the new mower for $19,423.65, which puts the item over budget by $3,687. Finally, the council approved a motion to donate the old mower to the golf course.
Approved temporary changes to loans taken through the city. The council agreed to give up to six-month extensions on monthly-paid loans through the city, interest-free, if lendees choose to apply. The council will review the applications at the May meeting. Councilor Luke Nordin abstained from the vote.
Approved keeping the Lancaster City Campground closed to overnight visitors until May 15. The campground usually opens up May 1, but with Gov. Tim Walz’s stay-at-home order in effect until May 4, the council agreed on a later open date. They will discuss the issue again at the May 13 council meeting.

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