After three presentations were made honoring community engagement and civic participation in Richfield Tuesday night, the Richfield City Council listened as William Lauer from accounting firm MMKR delivered the city's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2010. MMKR informed council members, city staff and residents in attendance that overall the city stands on sound financial ground, giving Richfield a "clean opinion" on its basic financial statements.
While the city's tax capacity has declined over the past two years, due in part to an increased tax levy to make up for the decline in state aid, most of the city's general fund expenditures remained close to budget projections this past year. Expenditures accounted for in the report include general government, public safety, fire, community development and public works.
Lauer reported that Richfield's general fund balance (used to fund the city's general operations) finished $55,000 higher than the 2010 budget had originally projected. The fund's unreserved balance currently sits at roughly 36 percent of the city's annual expenditures, which last year came in at approximately $49.l million. This was a 17 percent decrease in spending from 2009, although because of a difference in the types of capital projects underway in Richfield, that decrease can seem misleading.
The council also discussed an ordinance which would require residents to store garbage and recycling containers out of sight when not in use. While the council took no action in passing the ordinance because of questions regarding a part of the ordinance's language, the change is nonetheless expected to take effect Jan. 1, 2012 following passage of the ordinance in July 2011.
In other news, the council also considered how best to deal with vacant buildings before debating what role it should play in future property developments; specific sites on the council's radar are the property as well as the Kensington Park, located along 76th Street and Lyndale Avenue.
The next city council meeting is at 7 p.m. July 12 at Richfield City Hall.