The town’s annual audit found no concerns, looking healthy and receiving a certificate of achievement for excellence in financial reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the U.S. and Canada for its 22nd consecutive year.
Town finance officer James Overton presented the findings before the council on Monday. Shelton Ennes, a partner with Joyce and Company, CPA, an independent firm from Cary that provided an unqualified opinion also presented the firm’s recommendations.
At the end of the year, their overall fund balance increased $1.1 million, and the general fund balance hit $6.4 million, a $728,000 increase from the previous year.
Of the general fund, 46.6 percent of the balance is immediately available, about the same as last year.
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Much of the increase is attributed to water and sewer fees from developers and government projects like sidewalks that were added to residential developments and projects like Knightdale Station Park.
Some of the extra money went to restock the funds for improvements to sidewalks, streets and recreational facilities.
Because of those projects, most revenue streams have come from grants and contributions at 42 percent, up from 34 percent last year. The second largest stream came from property taxes, which makes up 32 percent of income.
Overton noted that some of the extra money came from the property taxes for vehicle licensing – with four extra months of overflow cash worth $157,000. The 8 percent increase in sales tax and population growth helped as well, topping 12,340 this year.
Expenses overall have increased significantly over the past few years for the last two years due to the greenway projects, Overton said.
Public safety cost the town the most at 36 percent of the town’s budget. Public works made up 23 percent of the town’s expenses.
Debt and internal recommendations
The town’s total debt increased 13.7 percent at $12.5 million, mostly due to a $3 million bond to SunTrust Bank for the park.
Overton said that over 2011, 2012 and 2013 borrowing increased for Knightdale Station Park.
“It will start coming down significantly starting next year,” he said.
Ennes said that there were no major problems with the audit.
“It went very smoothly,” he said.
However, he did point out a few findings in the management letter that “were less severe in scope.”
Ennes, who works with Joyce and Company, recommended stricter crackdowns on the employee credit card purchasing policy, saying that the audit revealed unsigned receipts or a lack of the mandatory paperwork. He encouraged town staff to follow their policies.
He also observed that although purchasing requests are supposed to be approved, some purchase requests had been submitted after the listed invoice date, which was a greater problem last year but had improved due to town actions.
Finally, Ennes recommended that the town keep better track of part-time employees’ hours.
“The town should be commended for taking seriously the internal controls,” he said.
Residents can read the full report at knightdalenc.gov, or view copies at the town clerk’s office or the East Regional Library.