The city of Janesville’s 2018 financial report is the latest indicator of a flourishing local economy in recent years.

Amanda Blomberg, an accountant with Baker Tilly, shared some highlights from the 187-page document in a brief presentation Monday night to the city council. Multiple factors give the city a healthy financial outlook, she said.

The introductory section of the document, known as the comprehensive annual financial report, touts industrial and commercial projects such as the NaturPak pet food plant on the city’s south side and the redevelopment of the former Menards site along Highway 14.

Janesville’s general fund had a $1.1 million surplus in 2018, which was “very strong,” said city Finance Director Max Gagin.

A robust real estate market has increased the city’s equalized value by 23% since 2015. Higher interest rates have also boosted Janesville’s investment earnings, he said.

“The city is in a very strong financial position. I think the 2018 CAFR really confirms that,” Gagin said. “I would consider it the best operating results we’ve ended with in the past five to 10 years, really since before the Great Recession. It’s just great to see.”

The biggest financial challenge that lies ahead will be navigating state restrictions such as levy limits. Such restrictions have been in place for years, but they hinder municipal flexibility when budget season approaches.

City Manager Mark Freitag said city staff would soon be releasing a PAFR—a “popular annual financial report”—that will distill the full report into a more digestible version for the public.

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