2017-04-20 / News

City’s finances are healthy, audit shows

By Glenda Caudle
Gulf Breeze News© 2017

In action before the Gulf Breeze City Council Executive Committee Monday, April 10, representatives of Saltmarsh, Cleaveland and Gund presented the annual audit for fiscal year 2016. David Lister called attention to the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting made by the Government Finance Officers Association to the City of Gulf Breeze. Cities honored must adhere to the highest standards in governmental accounting and financial reporting. Gulf Breeze has received the award for 14 consecutive years, as of 2015, and Lister said he anticipated that the city will qualify for the 2016 designation, as well.

He presented several graphs showing comparisons in the city’s net financial position and funding from 2014, 2015 and 2016 and complimented the Council that the number of findings called to the attention of members by the auditors had decreased from the 2015 audit.

His comments on the report showed the net position of the city boasting a spike. The portion related to governmental increase is related to the $6 million sale of the land near the bridge. On the business side, the improvement is owed to the city’s being able to cut its losses on the golf course.

The city is also in excellent position, thanks to the sale of the land, related to the unrestricted general fund balance as a percentage of total general fund operating expenditures. The GFOA recommends a minimum of 17 percent for two months, and Gulf Breeze is at almost 120 percent for 2016.

There has been a slow increase in revenues from governmental funds related to the sale of the land and a decrease in intergovernmental funds – basically related to FEMA funding. The capital outlay detailed under expenditures-governmental funds represents, mostly, a decrease in FEMA funding for capital outlay.

Changes in proprietary funds related to net position are explained by the South Santa Rosa Utilities issue. Operating expenses connected to proprietary funds showed a marked decrease, thanks to changes in operation of the golf course.

He noted the police pension fund, in which employees participate, was funded at 98 percent, which is substantially above the 80 percent level considered “good funding.”

“You’re still in a strong position on pension funding,” he said, “but it is something to look at for the future, because your investment performance may be overly optimistic … and there may be a need for more contributions in the future.”

There was only one finding, and it was related to completing the closeout of the annual financial records prior to the beginning of the audit process. Management agreed with the finding and pledged to continue efforts to improve that prospect, subject to resource and budget limitations.

The motion to accept the audit for placement on the agenda for the Monday, April 17, meeting of the Council was unanimous. Council members were unanimous in their willingness to accept the audit at that subsequent business session.

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