July 11, 2013 10:39:22 AM
Nathan Gregory - [email protected]
According to an audit of the city's financial statements by accounting firm Watkins, Ward and Stafford, Columbus governmental funds reported combined ending fund balances of $7,401,643 at the end of the 2012 fiscal year, an increase of $754,089 compared to 2011. The city's fiscal year begins Oct. 1.
The report lists total net assets of $102,619,195. Of that amount, $5,118,446 may be used to meet ongoing obligations to residents and creditors. The city's total debt was $50,753,622. Of that, approximately $10,654,229 was issued for governmental fund capital assets.
The city had total net assets of $101,153,971 in Fiscal Year 2011, meaning assets were up $1,465,224, nearly 1 percent.
Significant transactions having an impact on the statement of net assets included reductions of $1,013,288 and $9,638,968 of long-term debt for governmental and business-type activities, respectively. Governmental activities include basic city services including police, public works, fire and general administration, which are funded by property and sales taxes as well as federal grants, among other sources. Business-type activities include fees charged to customers to help cover costs of some services, namely electricity as well as water and sewer systems.
Total revenues were down nearly $2 million from 2011. The reported revenue in 2012 was $77,294,439 compared to $79,242,043 in 2011.
The firm noted no material weaknesses in the city's internal control over financial reporting, meaning the city has sufficient checks-and-balances to detect any misstatements concerning the city's financials.
There was one deficiency considered to be significant. The report states the city did not maintain adequate records for fixed assets by excluding subsidiary ledgers, or details that could include dates for when expenses were incurred. It recommended the city implement the sub-ledger. The report also says the city fails to perform an annually physical inventory and does not maintain property control tags.
The firm defined significant deficiencies as less severe as material weaknesses but important enough to merit attention by city government.
The firm stated in its report that providing an opinion on compliance with provisions of laws, contracts and grant agreements was not an objective of the audit.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.