Nov 282014

By Tammy Gray

The City of Holbrook paid down debt and spent $1.1 million less than it took in last fiscal year, according to a report prepared by Finance Director Randy Sullivan.

“Since November of 2009 the city has worked toward being debt free,” Sullivan said. “The city currently has only one debt remaining and that is scheduled to mature on July 1, 2020. This year we decreased debt service by $451,524.”

The remaining debt is that on the wastewater treatment plant.

The city took in a total of $5 million in general fund revenues and spent $3.9 million from the general fund over the last year, for a difference of $1.1 million.

City Manager Ray Alley explained that the general fund revenues and expenditures do not include grants or special sources of funding.

“It cost $5 million to run the city,” Alley said. “Our budget is $8 million to $9 million with grants and special funds, but without it is the actual cost to run the city,” he noted.

The $5 million in revenues was also $209,533 more than the city anticipated receiving during the last fiscal year. Sullivan noted that in addition to higher revenues, expenditures came in under budget, putting the city in a positive financial situation. Expenditures were $93,990 less than budgeted. The city also transferred $433,038 from the general fund to the wastewater fund and $269,531 to the road construction fund.

When all was said and done, the city came in well under the state-imposed expenditure limit, spending $304,766 less than the limit.

Sullivan noted that the general fund balance was also up at the end of the year, providing a safe “cushion” to roll over into the current fiscal year.

“The general fund has a fund balance of $2,099,086, an increase of $453,310,” he said. “One hundred percent of that is unassigned and can be spent at the government’s discretion.”

Sullivan also pointed out that the city just completed an audit of the last fiscal year and received a positive evaluation.

“The auditors noted no transactions by the government for which there was a lack of authoritative guidance or consensus, and they reported no significant difficulties working with management in the completion of the audit,” he said.

Alley noted that the auditors did have a few negative remarks regarding separation of duties, which the city typically receives due to limited staffing.

“We were dinged on separation of duties,” he said. “There’s just not enough staff to separate everything.”

According to Alley, most small cities receive the same negative remark since a large city might have 10 people among which certain duties can be spread while small cities like Holbrook have only one or two.

Alley also pointed out that the city continued to build up savings and increase investments over the last fiscal year. He noted that the city has about $550,000 immediately available, and about $1.7 million in savings and investments.

“I’m working to try to get that up to $2 million,” he said.