Columbus banks 54 percent fund balance in 2011 – 2012

Published 3:56 pm Friday, December 28, 2012

ABC store doesn’t profit but distributes $4k to town

The Town of Columbus brought in more revenues and spent less than budgeted during fiscal year 2011-2012, leaving the town with a 53.93 percent available fund balance.

Columbus Town Council met Dec. 20 and heard from Terry Andersen with Carland & Andersen Inc. Certified Public Accountants who performed the town’s audit.

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Andersen told council the town has an approximate 54 percent available fund balance and a 61 percent total fund balance.

“Obviously that’s a good percentage and you’re in good financial status there,” Andersen said.

He mentioned the town’s good management and financial control and that the town’s tax collections were “excellent.” Columbus collected 97.41 percent of its property taxes and 88.82 percent of its motor vehicle taxes, according to the audit.

Andersen said he is very confident in the cooperation from the town manager and staff and mentioned that he would like to take assistant finance director Kathy Gregory around to other entities he audits to have her tell others how to organize information.

Council members then asked about the town’s ABC financials.

Andersen said the ABC store had no profits last year but still made $4,000 in distributions to the town. Andersen said the ABC gross profits were similar to the prior year but expenditures were higher primarily in salaries. He said the ABC store did have several budget overages and recommended that the ABC board make budget amendments or stay within their budget better next year.

At the close of last fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2012, Columbus had a total fund balance of $619,518, an increase of $58,970 to the prior year. Of the total, the town has available $532,233.

Other highlights for the town were that the total debt decreased by a net of $17,388 for the general fund and debt decreased by $190,417 for its proprietary, or water and sewer fund.

In the general fund actual revenues exceeded budget by $16,125 and actual expenses were less than budget by $42,845, according to the audit report.

In the water/sewer fund, operating expenses of $837,216 were $275,304 less than operating income for the year. Columbus implemented a 10 percent sewer rate increase in fiscal year 2011-2012, which caused charges for services to increase over $42,000, according to the audit report. Council decided not to implement any further increases in rates this fiscal year, which began July 1.

The town was also able to make several equipment purchases last fiscal year, due some in part to grants.

Columbus purchased a 2012 Kawasaki motorcycle and equipment at a cost of $29,658 fully funded by a N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Grant; purchased a 2012 Dodge Charger and equipment for $26,178 fully funded by a traffic grant from the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program; purchased a 2012 Dodge Charger in the amount of $22,338 funded by a three year loan; purchased nine police portable radios at a cost of $7,048 and seven mobile data terminals at a cost of $17,877, partially funded by insurance proceeds of $15,681 from an accident involving a 2004 Crown Victoria and purchased an in-car video system for the police department at a cost of $9,327.

Columbus implemented a one-cent tax increase for the fire department this fiscal year in order to fund full-time employees.

The town also granted employees a four-percent increase in salaries for their first increase in a few years.