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Auditor: City’s cash up, debt down

By Bob Buckel | Published Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Auditor Scott Siegmund gave the Decatur City Council a brief overview of the city’s financial condition Monday as he presented the annual audit report.

The verdict?

“Pretty cool,” he said.

Selecting four key numbers out of the 54-page report, Siegmund noted the city’s cash grew $462,000 from the previous year. Unrestricted cash in the general fund was up $379,000.

He also pointed out that the city’s long-term debt had decreased by nearly $1.8 million and noted total capital expenditures during the past year of $960,000.

“That’s communications systems, vehicles, street infrastructure – things that will benefit the city for years to come,” he said.

He also noted that in the city’s budget of about $10 million, payroll increased by about $330,000 – $485,000 if all the employment-related costs are rolled in.

“You’re up about 10 employees,” he said. “You employ more people, so your total cost increased, but average compensation stayed about the same.”

Noteworthy was that in 2012 the city saw almost a $700,000 increase in total revenue. Siegmund noted that property taxes, sales taxes, hotel/motel taxes, franchise taxes, Civic Center revenue and water-sewer revenue were all up.

“The total budget was favorable because you brought in more revenue than you had budgeted for,” he said.

The city’s water-sewer revenue was remarkably close to last year, given the size of the fund.

“It’s unusual when you’re selling a commodity, such as water, which has all kinds of weather-related factors, that the numbers would come in that similar to the previous year,” he said.

Other highlights:

  • City of Decatur expenditures totalled $15.3 million during 2012, $10.9 million for governmental activities and $4.4 million for business-type activities (mostly water and sewer, but also including franchise taxes, fees and permits).
  • The city’s combined net assets gained $900,000 in value during the year, from $27,605,000 to $28,505,000. That includes land, buildings like City Hall, the Civic Center, the airport, parks, the fire, police and public works buildings, vehicles, communications equipment and the city’s water and sewer facilities.
  • The city’s year-end debt totaled $23.4 million, down $1.8 million from last year as the city maintained its A-1 credit rating.

Overall, Siegmund said he found no deficiencies in internal control or any material weaknesses in the city’s financial condition. The annual audit by an independent, outside accounting firm is required by law.

OTHER BUSINESS

The council had a long agenda after skipping two meeting dates in February. Still, they dispatched it within 90 minutes after a half-hour workshop featuring reports from the fire, planning and public works departments.

Leading off was a request from Chili’s to redo the sign on their restaurant at 600 U.S. 81/287. Although the size of the sign did not change, council approval was required. The sign is being redone to match the rest of the nationwide chain.

Both the Carson Elementary PTO and Fit-N-Wise got approval for “fun run” events to be held on city streets. Carson’s 5K and 1K family run is this Saturday at 8 a.m., while Fit-N-Wise’s 5K and 1K is April 6.

The council also saw a brief video presented by Oncor Area Manager Sabrina Easley on the company’s Centennial celebration.

Police Chief Rex Hoskins presented a request for $30,000 matching funds for a $130,000 grant to update 10-year-old cameras and computers in the city’s police cruisers. He also gave a required annual report of racial profiling statistics on traffic stops, and had the council designate the city’s Animal Control Officer as the local rabies control authority.

The council voted to move its March 11 meeting to March 18 to accommodate spring break.

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