Audit shows Williamston is in good financial shape

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Williamston Town Council heard their annual audit reports Monday. Auditor Ken Meadows of Greene, Finney LLP, said the town received an “Unmodified Opinion” on the audit, which he said, “Is the best you can get and the one you usually get.”

Meadows reported the town saw an overall increase in revenues and a decrease in expenditures. Revenues came in higher than budgeted for property taxes, franchise fees and licenses and permits. An increase in the sanitation fee also brought in more revenue.
Meadows said the fund balance increased by $225,000, from $1.975 million to $2.23 million. The Town has a restricted fund balance of $112,000, primarily for the Cemetery Fund and Envision Williamston, leaving an unassigned fund balance of $2,118,000. The fund balance represents 69 percent of actual 2019 expenditures and 73 percent of 2020 budgeted expenditures, Meadows said. “The GFOA recommends a mininum of 16.7 percent, or about two months,” he said.
General Fund revenues for 2019 were $3,336,000, an increase of $123,000 from 2018. Meadows said the increase was $29,000 from property taxes; $30,000 from franchise fees; $26,000 in licenses and permits and an increase in the sanitation fee which brought in an additional $43,000.
Revenues were $446,000 more than budgeted, due to a conservative budget with property taxes $31,000 over budget, Hospitality taxes $27,000 over budget and licenses and permits $97,000 more than budgeted. Grant revenue, a new resource officer provided by School District One and other revenue also contributed to increased revenue reflected in the audit, Meadows said.

Expenditures decreased from 2018. Expenditures for 2019 amounted to $3,081,000, a decrease of $345,000 from last year. The audit showed expenditures for public safety of $1,451,000; general government $731,000; public works $388,000; recreation $469,000 and $31,000 in debt service.
According to Meadows, two areas saw increased expenditures. General government increased by $39,000 and Public Safety increased by $83,000. Areas showing decreases included recreation decreasing by $51,000; capital outlay by $406,000 and debt service decreasing by $26,000. Expenditures were overbudget by $188,000, with recreation being $26,000 over budget and general government $192,000 over budget. Public Works came in $39,000 under budget.

The Water Fund showed an increase in revenues and a decrease in expenses.
Operating revenues increased from $1,102,000 to $1,120,000. Operating expenses dropped from $954,000 for 2018 to $857,000 for 2019. Decreased salaries and benefits amounted to $35,000; decreased operating supplies amounted to $35,000 and decreased professional fees amounted to $22,000.
Operating income was up from $148,000 for 2018 to $263,000 for 2019. Non operating income was also up primarily from a RIA grant of $439,000 for water line projects undertaken in 2019. The Water Fund saw a change in net position of $671,000, and has a fund balance of $3,528,000, with $2,150,000 in net investment in capital assets.

The Sewer Fund had operating revenues of $1,135,000 for 2019, a bit less than the $1,168,000 taken in in 2018. Operating expenses were also up, primarily due to increase in repairs and maintenance of $99,000. Operating expenses were up from $1,102,000 in 2018 to $1,161,000 in 2019.
The fund showed an operating loss of $27,000 and a change in net position with a decrease of $120,000. The total net position stands at $6,990,000.
The Town’s total outstanding long term debt decreased by $229,000 to $4,689,000.
The Town has $3,288,000 in 2010 Revenue Bonds, for a sewer upgrade, with annual debt service of $162,000.
The Town owes $1,229,000 on a 2017 water meter lease project which has annual debt service of $171,000.
A 2017 firetruck lease of $172,000 has debt service of $31,000 each year.
Total yearly payments on the three items amounts to $364,000.

Meadows reported one material weakness in the audit. The armory building, which was donated to the town in 2014, was not recorded in the town’s capital assets. A prior period adjutment was made to get it on the books.
The management letter also referenced the purchase of a sewer truck without council approval. Meadows said the purchase fell under an emergency purchase. He recommended the town budget for future replacement needs.
In summary, Meadows said the General Fundand the Water Fund are in “very good financial condition” and the Sewer Fund in “adequate financial condition.”

 

Williamston Mayor Mack Durham said, “I am really happy with the audit and with the reserves we have in our funds. I appreciate all the work our department heads are doing. We are in great shape with reserves and are investing in the commuinty.” He said, “We are keeping a healthy amount in our reserves for future infrastructure needs.”
“The community can look forward to some paving and infrastructure improvement with federal grants and we are being fiscally responsible for the town.”