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St. Louis Area Municipalities Show Slow Economic Recovery

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Annual public sector survey by RubinBrown indicates continued recovery but at a much slower pace
November 10, 2014

St. Louis area municipalities saw continued economic recovery in 2013, however revenue grew at a much smaller pace after a couple of  years of steady growth, according to RubinBrown’s 2014 Public Sector Statistical Analysis. Available at, the report includes and segregates data from St. Louis, Kansas City and the Denver, Colorado Front Range municipalities, representing financial information from the 2013 fiscal year. The statistical analysis focuses on municipalities with populations greater than 5,000. Each region’s results are presented individually. (A list of the participating municipalities can be found within the report).

“Overall, the fiscal condition of municipalities in these areas reflect a slowing down of the economic recovery happening throughout the country,” said Jeff Winter, CPA, partner-in-charge of RubinBrown’s Public Sector Services Group “The average change in Net Position was still positive but at a much smaller rate of growth than in 2012 or 2011. The average change in net position rose only 2.5% compared to 3.2% in 2012. Costs also increased at a faster pace in 2013 as compared to revenue growth , resulting in continued net position growth for municipal governments but slower than in the prior year.” Similar results were the finding of the National League of Cities’ “The City Fiscal Conditions Survey” which showed that most respondents were experiencing decreased revenue growth.

The average revenue per capita for local municipalities in the St. Louis region decreased in 2013 to $928  as compared to $963 in 2012, while average per capita expenses were also down but at a much slower rate then revenues showing a decrease of only $5 at $1,159 in 2013, compared to $1,164 in 2012. In the St. Louis metropolitan area, the average increase in net position has significantly decreased over the past two years, from 8.6 percent in 2011 and 4.7 percent in 2012 to 3.2 percent in 2013. Additionally, 19 percent of the municipalities in the survey reported a decrease in government-wide net position, compared to 12 percent in 2012. However, in spite of slower growth, St. Louis municipalities have managed to maintain sufficient liquidity and general fund unrestricted fund balance with an average liquidity ratio in 2013 of 4.5, up from an average of 4.1 in 2012 and unrestricted general fund fund balances at a very healthy 60% of revenues.

“This is a positive indicator for our region, as it demonstrates that area municipalities are well positioned to withstand short-term cash and revenue shortfalls. In fact, 31 of the 41 participating St. Louis municipalities had a liquidity ratio of 2.0 or greater,” said Winter.

RubinBrown is one of the nation’s largest accounting and business consulting firms, with 500 team members working from offices in Denver, Kansas City and St. Louis, including a satellite office in St. Louis’ CORTEX Innovation District. Founded in 1952, the firm’s team members establish best practices within specific industry segments and work to serve the community both inside and outside the workplace. Our mission is to help clients build and protect value, while at all times honoring the responsibility to serve the public interest. RubinBrown is an independent member of Baker Tilly International, a high-quality, dedicated network of 161 independent firms in 137 countries. For more information, visit


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