Rochester council set to review annual audit

City saw revenue increase in 2021 with federal support

The Zumbro River winds through downtown Rochester on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. Andrew Link / Post Bulletin
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ROCHESTER — Revenue for the city of Rochester increased by $12.8 million in 2021, compared to 2020.

The increase was largely due to the initial federal funds received through the American Rescue Plan Act. When combined with other forms of funding from outside governments, it totaled $8.7 million for the year.

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The city is slated to receive a combined $17.5 million in ARPA over a two-year period.

On Monday, the Rochester City Council will review the results of an audit conducted by Smith Schafer and Associates. The annual audit will present information on the status of various city funds at the end of 2021.

A report sent to the council ahead of Monday’s meeting points out that “The pandemic makes 2020 and 2021 atypical years and difficult to compare to prior years.”


It also notes the city maintained a general fund balance at 44% of its annual expenditures, which is slightly up from the previous two years.

The $41.7 million reserve at the end of 2021 is intended to ensure the city has access to funds needed to day-to-day operations, since city revenue is generated sporadically throughout any given year.

The auditor’s report points out the city’s general fund reserves ranged from $15 million to more than $45 million last year, due to fluctuating income streams.

The city seeks to keep a fund balance equal to at least 42% of its annual expenses in order to maintain its high bond rating, which provides the opportunity to secure lower interest rates when borrowing funds for larger improvement and construction projects.

In addition to reviewing the general fund balance, the council will look at revenue available in a variety of dedicated city funds during its review of the annual audit.

The review and related discussion will be part of the council’s weekly study session at 3:30 p.m. Monday in council chambers of the city-county Government Center, 151 Fourth St. SE.

Upcoming meetings

Meetings scheduled to be held during the week of June 27 include:



  • City Council study session, 3:30 p.m. Monday in council chambers of the city-county Government Center, 151 Fourth St. SE. The meeting will livestream at and be available on Spectrum cable channel 180 or 188 and Metronet channel 80.
  • Public Utility Board, 4 p.m. Tuesday in the Rochester Public Utilities community room, 4000 East River Road NE.
  • Heritage Preservation Commission, 5 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers of the Government Center, 151 Fourth St. SE.
Randy Petersen joined the Post Bulletin in 2014 and became the local government reporter in 2017. An Elkton native, he's worked for a variety of Midwest papers as reporter, photographer and editor since graduating from Winona State University in 1996. Readers can reach Randy at 507-285-7709 or
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