The bank accounts may be dwindling but there is enough money to pay off all existing debts—and still have about $410,000 to play with.
That’s the news town auditor Jock Spence, with BDO Dunwoody here, brought to council Monday night in his 1997 financial report, which showed the town has $4.198 million in resources, current liability and debt of $1.672 million, and future debt of $2.116 million.
“From a financial point of view, they’re in good shape,” Spence said yesterday. “They were in tremendous financial shape last year. Now they’re in good shape.”
In the previous year, the financial indicator was $3.34 million (up from 1997’s $410,000), which Spence said indicates the town used some $2.93 million to cover future debt or capital projects last year.
“These resources have remained fairly stable from 1994 to 1996 but in 1997 have been used to meet the town’s capital requirements,” he explained.
“The majority of that money went into roadwork for 1997,” Mayor Glenn Witherspoon noted, adding the arena and auditorium projects also contributed to the town not having as many dollars available.
But Spence felt the town had reached the point where it had financial resources accumulating that needed to be spent on infrastructure.
“It’s not a bad thing,” he said, noting taxpayers would see better roads, sewer, and water as a result. “[But] because they’ve done this, their actual cash balances have decreased significantly.
“A lot of municipalities [have] got long-term debt,” he added, pointing out the town didn’t have to raise funds to pay off any outstanding debt.
With net operating cash, investments in 1997 were at $2.9 million, compared to $5.65 million in ’96. Temporary loans were at $1.23 million compared to $50,000 the previous year.
“This results in a net reduction in operating cash of $4,740,000. Approximately $2 million of this will be recovered from the reserve funds, and as I understand, has already been recovered,” Spence noted, adding the balance will be divided in capital spending and debt repayment.
Up this year, though, was the town’s surplus, including $679,000 from the “general fund,” $21,000 from the BIA, $251,000 from water works, and $13,000 from the library.
While the surplus for the general fund may seem high, treasurer Carol Busch noted it represented only 2.15 percent of the total 1997 budget.
“A variance of plus or minus five percent is deemed to be very good budgeting,” she said. “Division managers and their staff should be commended for their efforts in reducing costs and keeping their budgets in line.”