Sun-Sentinel: An annual audit of the city’s finances has turned up something the city hasn’t had for three years: emergency reserves.
The city has gone from a $4.9 million operating deficit at the end of the 2011 fiscal year to having $1.9 million in reserves last year, auditors reported.
And the city, which had less than $20,000 in cash when the books were closed in 2011, showed $2.4 million in cash in 2012.
Overall, the city took in $2.8 million more than it spent to operate last year, helping to improve its overall financial picture, outside auditor Roderick Harvey told commissioners on Wednesday. Harvey credited the city’s increased property tax rate and its tighter control of expenses for the difference.
“The management of expenses has really helped the city post a positive change,” Harvey said. That includes the commission’s policy of reviewing expenditures and revenues on a monthly basis, he said.
However, the positive change in the emergency reserves had more to do with how the numbers are presented than any dramatic change in the city’s situation.
The city owes more than $8 million to the Broward Sheriff’s Office for past services. That money was counted as current debt in the 2011 audit and negatively affected the city’s rainy day fund. In the 2012 audit, the BSO obligation is considered long-term debt, which has a much smaller effect on reserves.
The city’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the 2012 fiscal year should be finalized this month, the first time it has come ion time in several years, officials said.
Commissioners credited the city’s administration for making necessary changes to straighten out the city’s finances.
“Jonathan, you’ve been doing a yeoman’s job,” Commissioner Levoyd Williams told City Manager Jonathan Allen.
This is where the spin comes in-
Treating the BSO and CRA debt as long term is smoke and mirrors- it is for past services and there are balloon payments due on both.
The General Fund had a $4.9M fund balance deficit in 2011 financial statements. There is no way that the General Fund does not still have a deficit fund balance for 2012. The city did have reserves $2M in the special assessment funds (stormwater and solid waste) for 2011, but a deficit of $4.9 million in the General Fund. The General Fund still has a deficit fund balance for 2012- thus no reserve. The Fire fund has a $1.7 million deficit in fund balance for 2012- thus no reserve. The only funds with reserves are the special assessments- the Governmental Funds have deficit fund balances.
All emergency reserves are in the special assessments! That is why stormwater fees were jacked up by 160% and solid waste fees were increased- to cover the General Fund.
The 2011 financial statements showed the special assessments having $1.7 million in cash. If the auditor is saying that the City only had $20,000 in cash at the end of 2011, that means the General Fund was in the negative for cash for 2011 (MAOS has been saying this for some time now- the City borrowed special assessment cash).
And moving the BSO debt from short term to long term- this is debt for services already rendered in the past. Smoke and mirrors. Probably did the same for the CRA debt the City owes. Someone might to clue Broward County in on this. Nothing has changed, just trying to put lipstick on the pig…
1. The audit report shows that there was $2.4M in cash for 2012. Looking at the City’s Monthly Financial Report as of Sep 30, 2012 presented and approved by the Commission, $3.2M in cash belongs to Stormwater and Solid Waste, where did the $800k go?
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