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Village of Wittenberg passes audit

Water rates being addressed by PSC
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According to a recent audit, the Village of Wittenberg is doing well financially with a healthy general fund balance.

Jackie Nielson, audit manager at Kerber Rose accounting firm, presented the 2018 audit report to the village board at its meeting May 7.

Industry standards indicate that having 25 to 30% of budgeted expenditures on hand for the coming year is a sign of a good general fund balance, Nielson said, and Wittenberg falls within that parameter. Nielson also explained to the board why having that healthy balance is important.

“A municipality is not like a regular business where there are monthly expenditures and revenues,” she said. “Most of your money comes in the beginning of the year from taxes, then some comes in the summer from the state and then the rest comes in toward the end of the year.”

She noted that with its general fund, the village doesn’t have to do any short-term borrowing to cover expenses.

Wittenberg also got good marks regarding comparisons from budget to actual figures, which gets reported to the Governmental Accounting Standards board. The village was over budget $4,405 for Public Works. According to Nielson, most municipalities run over budget in several categories.

“What this means is, you’re doing a good job of putting together and maintaining a realistic and reasonable budget,” Nielson said.

Where Wittenberg falls short is not charging enough for water utility rates. The rates are being reviewed by the Public Service Commission.

Nielson noted that the village would have been better off raising the rate by a little each year.

Trustee Dave Timm asked whether the PSC would be building in a cushion of 10 to 20% along with the rate increase.

Nielson said the PSC generally sets that cushion at 5 to 6%. A recommendation is expected after the PSC completes its review this summer.