TRAVERSE CITY — Growing taxable values helped boost Traverse City finances, as did a windfall from medical marijuana business license applications.

Those were some of the findings in the city’s financial audit covering July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019 — the city’s last fiscal year.

City leaders must spend down the unrestricted general fund a bit, city Treasurer Bill Twietmeyer said. And a rollercoaster stock market dented the city’s Municipal Employee Retirement System funding by fiscal year’s end.

Doug Vredeveld, certified public accountant and Vredeveld Haefner partner, said the city’s financial statements from July 2018 through June 2019 accurately represented the city’s financial position.

“It’s a good, clean opinion, certainly what you hope for when you have an audit done,” he said.

The city’s unrestricted general operating fund balance was $3,550,102 by July 2019, or 21 percent of general operating fund expenses, documents show — Vredeveld said his firm typically recommends cities keep a 25 percent balance.

But city policy recommends a lower figure, between 15 and 20 percent, Twietmeyer said. Commissioners and staff will talk about how to spend the roughly $170,000 to hit that target during the upcoming budgeting process. There’s already no shortage of ideas, he agreed.

Property tax revenues grew by $1,223,036, up to $15,115,475 by June 30, documents show.

Twietmeyer said it’s a sign of a healthy real estate market.

The $5,000 each medical marijuana business license applicant paid made for a roughly $385,000 boost, documents show.

City Clerk Benjamin Marentette said he’ll discuss how to spend the money during the budgeting process and doesn’t have any suggestions yet.

A stock market slide in late 2018 helped put the city’s funding percentage for MERS at 57.06 percent, Twietmeyer said. That’s below the 60-percent threshold state law establishes — any local government below this rate must submit a plan to fix it, as previously reported.

Twietmeyer said he’s waiting to see what the state says, and he expects stock market gains since then made up most of the difference.


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