Mount Jackson in good shape, audit says
Mount Jackson finished out the fiscal year with $472,831 extra in its coffers, according to the latest audit report released by Robinson, Farmer, Cox Associates.
Neil Showalter, the town’s finance director, said he was very satisfied with the town’s fiscal position.
“I think our performance was really good,” Showalter said. “While the general revenue fell $52,00 from what we expected, we were able to cut expenditures by $100,000, so we were able to come out ahead almost $50,000.”
The audit, which was presented at Tuesday’s Town Council meeting, found the town began the year with about $1.91 million in its total “fund balance,” which is the town’s savings carried from year to year, and ended the year with $2.38 million, a $472,831 increase.
Town Manager Kevin Fauber said Tuesday, “We’re small, but I feel like our finances are in good shape, particularly considering the economy over the last four years.”
Fauber said that the town’s economic situation and growth “will expand our possibilities … and hopefully have more revenues available for more services.”
Overall, Fauber said the report “shows that the town staff is very prudent with the town’s money.”
During the 2014 fiscal year, the town collected $1.6 million in revenue, with $905,178 coming from local taxes such as cigarette, meals and motor vehicle taxes, $436,369 from property taxes and $184,585 from the commonwealth.
An additional $14,815 was raised through federal funding for capital projects and revenue from use of town property, bringing the total amount of revenue to $1.62 million.
The town spent $1.5 million during 2014, with $600,106 going toward general government administration, $388,992 toward public works and $388,776 toward public safety.
When comparing revenue to expenditures, the town lost $77,288 during the fiscal year, due in part to funding major capital projects such as the water tower and sewer pipe replacement. However, the town was able to use $550,119 from the water and sewer funds to cover the projects, resulting in the $472,831 that was added to the town’s coffers.
Showalter noted, “The $550,119 is kind of a temporary transfer to keep track of the capital projects, because we do not keep our general government capital project funds separate from our utility capital project funds.”
The town’s “business-like activities,” which include the town’s water, sewer and trash collection, saw a $128,128 drop in its fund balance, due to the transfer.
During the year, the town collected $1.62 million for its services, with $1 million coming from sewer fees, $418,376 from water fees and $102,756 for trash collection fees. The town spent $1.21 million on those services, a $406,798 profit when looking at revenue over expenditures.
Once the $580,200 transfer is factored in, along with a $35,00 transfer into the fund and a $17,547 interest expense, the water, sewer and trash fund lost $128,128.
Mount Jackson does not have a policy for the general government fund to maintain a fund balance at a percentage of the town’s expenditures, Showalter said. When looking at that ratio, the town’s general government fund balance amounted to 44.23 percent of its 2014 expenditures.
Reporter Kevin Green contributed to this report.
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