City of Ashland Benefits from a Clean Audit | News
ASHLAND The city of Ashland released a clean audit, an accountant with the city commission said Thursday.
Anthony Workman, of accounting firm Kelley Galloway Smith and Goolsby, said the city’s financial statements were properly presented and in accordance with generally accepted accounting practices and standards.
“This is a clean audit, no changes are needed,” Workman said.
Mayor Matt Perkins said the audit was “one of our best since I’ve been on council,” thanking the city manager, finance department and staff for correcting the findings of the city’s audit. year and continue to improve standards and inventory systems.
City Manager Mike Graese said the Workman-led accounting team “dives deep into the matter” and gives the city “a good look at ourselves and our finances.”
“Nobody likes to have a material weakness, but we have to know the areas where we need to improve,” Graese said.
In this year’s audit, the company made only a few findings – both involving the Community Development Block Grant and carryovers from the previous year, including the Dixon Street fiasco, which has since been rectified by the city.
Overall, the big takeaway from the report, according to Workman, is that the city’s revenue projections for fiscal year 2021 (which ended June 30, 2021) were well below what the city was taking in. – nearly $17 million.
Essentially, the city’s finances are in decent shape, even with the economy as it is.
Much of this was due to the $9 million obligation voted at the end of the fiscal year for capital projects, including the dismantling of the Ashland Oil Building. About $2.5 million more came from property tax collections — the city collected two years of property taxes in one year due to a tax deferral due to the governor’s emergency orders in 2020 — and a $1.3 million increase in the collection of professional taxes.
According to the report, King’s Daugthers Medical Center embarked on a hiring spree following the closure of Notre Dame de Bellefonte, leading to the business tax increase.
This increase in business tax revenue was $3 million more than the fiancé department had budgeted – during the meeting, chief financial officer Tony Grubb said his department had made conservative calculations due to the uncertainty of the ‘economy.
Graese said the city’s relatively good financial situation is the result of “difficult decisions we made at the start of the pandemic.”
“We have collectively made the decision to freeze the hiring of certain positions and let others go,” he said. “All these people that we fired, we rehired them or gave them the opportunity to come back, but it was difficult at the time. I think the finances we see now reflect that strategy and we are in a position decent today.
Perkins credited the city’s finance department with keeping the city in solid financial shape.
“Our finance department is cautious,” Perkins said. “They’re not pie in the sky, they keep a cool head and make sure we’re within our means.”
Perkins also thanked state and federal governments for helping local governments through the pandemic, with financial assistance such as CARES and AARPA.
“We would have been in a bad place if it hadn’t been for the state and federal government stepping up to help our local governments,” he said. “I think by investing these funds in infrastructure, we are doing the responsible thing for our citizens and these governments.”
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