By Rich Larson, Chief Information Officer
The town of Northfield presented the results of its full financial report to city council on Tuesday evening. After a year of looking, at times, as the city headed into a financial crisis, the report results showed Northfield to be in good financial health.
The results were presented by Tom Hollinger of Abdo, Eick & Meyers. Hollinger said the report returned an unmodified opinion and the audit results were clear.
By making adjustments during the pandemic, the city was able to reduce its budgeted spending by $ 730,000, while its revenue was $ 60,000 more than expected. This meant the city finished 2020 with around 5% less than its budget. City administrator Ben Martig attributed the results to taking a more conservative approach last year, delaying some projects and asking city staff to tighten their belts during the Covid-19 pandemic. The anticipation was that state aid would be reduced due to a projected deficit in the state budget and that there would be a drop in property tax revenue, as many people struggled to pay. their bills. However, the state was left with an unexpected budget surplus and property tax revenue was unaffected, leaving the city about $ 800,000 as of 2020. These reserve funds will partially cover the reserve. operations for the next fiscal year, and some will be done. available as contingency funds for debt reduction or special projects.
He said having money in the bank is especially good when the city is looking to fund big projects.
“Good liquidity has actually been a highlight of the city’s financial strength. If we need dollars – if we get issued debt and borrow money for capital projects – that helps a lot. [Reserve funds] is something they watch very closely. It has been handled very well, so it is a positive thing.
Martig also said that the funding the city received from the CARES Act required quite a bit of additional paperwork, as well as a separate and expanded audit. The city has done so well with the paperwork that it was awarded a Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting, something which Hollinger said has not been awarded to many cities in Minnesota.
Jeff Johnson’s full conversation with city administrator Ben Martig can be heard here
The new project of the Young Sculptor will be unveiled
Northfield’s newest piece of public art will be unveiled tonight at the corner of 3rd and the streets of the Division.
A new sculpture created by the Young Sculptors Project will be unveiled at 6 p.m. this evening. A brief ceremony hosted by the Northfield Arts and Culture Commission will honor the artists who created the piece and provide information about the YSP grant program.
The Young Sculptors’ Project is made up of 15 high school artists from Northfield, an established sculptor from Minnesota, and an art apprentice. Artists and students meet weekly at Northfield High School from September to May, to work on a collaborative sculpture. The exhibit is then installed by the City of Northfield at the intersection opposite the Northfield Public Library. The artwork is typically on display for two years, but the current piece has been held in place for an additional year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the city’s website page, the Northfield Arts and Culture Commission and Northfield Public Schools began collaborating on this project in 2011, with the goal of increasing the visibility and value of the arts through to the addition of public sculptures. The project is funded by a grant from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (SEMAC.)
YSP’s current sculpture, “Waist Deep”, will be moved to a sculpture garden in the courtyard of Northfield High School.
City Highlights Free Wi-Fi
And free public Wi-Fi is now available throughout Northfield.
A statement posted on the city’s website last week said Northfield had installed wireless hotspots in and around city properties to help residents, businesses and visitors access more reliably to the city’s free wireless network.
The Northfield Public Library has five wireless access points, three indoors and two outdoors. The ice rink has several interior and exterior accesses. City Hall, Northfield Liquor Store, Police Department, Wastewater Treatment Plant, Water Department, and Maintenance Center all have wireless access inside the buildings.
In addition to the city buildings, Bridge Square has a hotspot, which should help events held in the park like the Riverwalk Market Fair and the defeat of Jesse James Days. The city is also exploring the possibility of adding hotspots to large, frequently used parks.
Areas marked with signs in windows and poles outside buildings are Wi-Fi hotspots. When in these areas, users can choose “Free City Wi-Fi” from their area. list of Wi-Fi networks available to access the network.
The Wi-Fi hotspots were installed as part of a larger priority strategic plan to improve tourism throughout Northfield and provide a wider connection to residents.