More cities in the St. Louis region ended the year with a surplus than in the past, according to RubinBrown’s twelfth annual survey of municipal statistical and financial information.
This analysis has been created in order to provide a comprehensive report of key government-wide and governmental-fund financial statistics for the regions the firm serves so that city governments may compare how they are doing relative to other municipal governments in their region.
This year, 41 St. Louis municipalities participated in the survey. The average population of the cities included in the St. Louis metropolitan area was 22,000; the median change in net position for this region was 3.1%t as compared to 2.7% in 2016.
Only ten cities (or 24.3%) in the region reported decreases in government-wide net position. In 2016, 11 of the 41 St. Louis municipalities (or 26.8%) reported a decrease in government-wide net position. However, the average loss of these cities with a decrease in net position decreased to 7.9% compared to over 30.9% in 2016.
The cause of this increased growth in net position in 2017 is evident when examining revenue per capita and expenses per capita. Median revenue per capita for St. Louis municipalities remained flat in 2017, but median expenses per capita decreased 5.9% to a more normal level compared to prior years.
Another important indicator of financial strength is how much debt the region is assuming. Median long-term debt per capita in the St. Louis region (which excludes pension or other non-bonded debt) had been increasing up to 2015. During 2016 and 2017, there was less new debt activity due to higher interest rates.
Finally, the most scrutinized ratio is the general fund’s unrestricted fund balance as compared to operating expenditures. This shows a very strong financial position for St. Louis area governments, which are maintaining unrestricted fund balance equal to almost half of annual expenditures.
RubinBrown encourages each finance officer to share the results of this analysis with the city's chief executive officer and governing body to help key officials understand how their city compares to that of their peers.
RubinBrown’s Public Sector Services Group provides services to a broad spectrum of government organizations, including city and county governments, institutions of higher education, local public school districts, state governments and political districts such as public libraries, municipal utility districts and fire districts.
Founded in 1952, RubinBrown’s team members establish best practices within specific industry segments and work to serve the community both inside and outside the workplace. RubinBrown’s 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 125 independent firms in 147 countries. For more information, visit www.rubinbrown.com.
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