The city of Wadena received a clean audit report for 2020, according to an executive summary from Eide Bailley, shared Tuesday, June 13. The summary indicates the city follows acceptable practices and statements contained no material misstatements.

In comparing budgeted and actual revenues, the city came to within just $3,583 of the budgeted amount. However actual expenditures were in excess of $214,065, largely due to airport and public safety costs.

The city had a total fund balance of $1,741,117 to end 2020. Total fund balances were at the lowest they’ve been in nine years as unassigned funds fell below $1 million. Assigned funds remained steady for the third year.

The city’s unrestricted fund balance fell below 50% for the first time in the last nine years.

Year end cash and investments have soared in the electric utility fund to surpass $5 million for the first time. Sewer and water funds are also at their highest. These healthy funds allow for payment of debt and operations.

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Liquor sales added more revenue in 2020 and allowed for gross profits to surpass $500,000. The gross profit percentage was at 24.8% in 2020.

Closures and restrictions at the Maslowski Wellness and Research Center drove record losses there. While operating expenses held near $900,000, operating losses surpassed $500,000.

2020 was the first in nine years that the Wadena Golf Course expenses and revenues broke even. Expenses typically outweigh revenue but increased traffic made for a record year.

In other actions, city council members:

  • Approved hiring Megan Heino as a part-time employee at Whitetail Run Golf Course.
  • Authorized purchase of security cameras at the Wadena Veteran’s Museum. An estimate of $515 was obtained for the cameras. The discussion was last brought up in June 2019. The purchase was going to be in the budget, but was not included. Council members agreed they could find funds to cover the cost.
  • Authorized entering into a purchase agreement with Hunke Realty LLC for Lot 5, Block 1, Wadena Business Park Addition to Wadena. This purchase is part of a larger expansion to add truck parking at Midwest Truck Repair and to include additional service bays and a truck wash, according to minutes from the Wadena Development Authority meeting.
  • Authorized hiring Seth Ament as a mechanic maintenance worker for the Public Works department.

In other areas, the council discussed a possible pay raise for part-time liquor store employees. Council members reviewed a pay scale of 2% or 2.5% annual increases. They also noted that starting pay is at $15 an hour at other local businesses including Casey’s, Holiday and Pizza Ranch. That’s $2-3 more per hour than many of the part-time city jobs.

The topic received further input from other departments who mentioned similar concerns over pay and being able to attract applicants to open positions. The council hoped to hear more about what a pay increase would cost the city and how many positions this may involve before they considered any increases.