Columbus banks 47 percent fund balance

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Annual audit shows town in good financial position

COLUMBUS — The town of Columbus is once again in a sound financial position, with a fund balance of 47 percent.

The Columbus Town Council met Thursday and heard its annual audit report from Terry Andersen, with Carland & Andersen Inc.

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Columbus Town Manager Tim Barth said the unassigned fund balance increased from last year.

“Even though the over fund balance went down from last year, the unassigned fund balance went up,” Barth said.

The audit report is for fiscal year ending June 30, 2018.

The town had $565,091 in available fund balance, which was 47 percent of its total general fund expenditures. Total fund balance was $872,773, which was a decrease of $27,125 from the previous year. The total fund balance was 65 percent.

Columbus’ debt decreased by $85,750 for the general fund and decreased by $292,545 for the proprietary fund, according to the audit report.

The assets of the town exceeded its liabilities at the close of the fiscal year by $4.82 million and its total net position decreased by $789,275.

The audit report noted that in March 2018, the town settled a lawsuit with Adult Community Total Services Inc. (Tryon Estates), who claimed the town had overcharged for water and sewer billing for numerous years.

“The settlement provided that the town pay $250,000 in the first settlement payment and then make 24 monthly payments in the amount of $29,076,” states the audit report. “The total settlement was $947,813.”

The town stayed in good financial position partly because actual revenues were greater than budgeted by $7,221 and actual expenses were less than the budget by $55,492.

The audit report also notes that full-time employees were given a 4-percent cost-of-living increase in July 2012, so no salary increases were given during 2017-2018. A full-time employee bonus was given in the amount of $1,200 each, however last fiscal year.

Major capital expenses during fiscal year 2017-2018 included the purchase of two 2018 Ford Explorers for the police department at a cost of $59,096; the replacement of the telephone system for town hall and the police department at a cost of $15,178; upgrades to the Wi-Fi system at a cost of $3,178; the purchase of a diesel lawnmower at a cost of $11,357; repairs and upgrades to the water and sewer distribution system at a cost of $89,524; and removal of the town’s water storage tank at a cost of $56,375.

Columbus’ current fiscal year began on July 1, 2018, and the town council in the next few months will be preparing the 2019-2020 budget.