By Ethan Colbert
Underscoring its strong finances and management, the City of Bowling Green received a “clean” audit report Monday for the previous fiscal year.
Rebecca Friedrich, an accountant with the Springfield-based accounting firm, KPM, presented the audit report.
“The city has received the best option, which is a clean or an audit that has no findings,” Friedrich said.
Fredrich proceeded to highlight several areas of the audit, which can be reviewed in detail at city hall. The full audit report is well over 100 pages.
According to Fredrich, the city’s General Fund totaled $2.8 million this year, which is an increase of $262,000 over the previous year.
Part of the increase was due to the city receiving a grant that was then passed on to the Pike County Agency for the Developmentally Disabled.
Fredrich also noted that the city had seen an increase in its tax receipts for the year.
“As a whole, taxes in the city were $35,000 higher than they were last year,” Fredrich said. “I would also like to point out that sales tax revenues were 2 percent higher than they were last fiscal year.”
The final part of Fredrich’s presentation included discussion on the city’s cash reserves.
Currently, the city’s General Fund has a cash reserve of $1.2 million, or roughly 52 percent of the yearly General Fund’s operation.
“What this means, is that if the city did not get any revenue after September 30, that the city would be able to go six full months, providing services and not run out of money,” Fredrich said. “We typically recommend as auditors that city’s have a three- month reserve, which is what we would call adequate. So for you to have a six-month reserve is very good. However, if you have projects that you need to address and that you need to use reserve funds for, then you can do it and not be overly concerned.”
Following the audit presentation, City Administrator Barb Allison said that the city may follow Fredrich’s advice.
“I would seriously like for you guys to consider going back and taking a look at putting things back in the budget that we took out,” Allison said referring to the purchase of a patrol vehicle for the city’s police department, a new truck for the city’s street department, a new vehicle for the city’s fire department, and new roofs for both the city’s wastewater and water plants.
Early cost estimates for all of these purchases and projects are calculated to be around $150,000. A request for bids for the new roofs have not been made as of press time.
“I would like to see us tie up these little things,” Allison said.
Some of the city’s Board of Aldermen were hesitant to tap into reserves for projects and purchases that were not included in the budget.
City of Bowling Green Mayor Don Hunter said he understood their concerns, but said it was time for the city to spend down its reserves.
“Over time, we have put some serious money in the bank,” Hunter said. “I don’t know if we have been able to do it because we have not been foolish in spending money or if we are just keeping a closer eye on things, but we have done such a good job of saving money back. Now, is the time for us to change our attitudes and realize that you are not supposed to sit on your reserves forever.”
Without official bids regarding new roofs for the wastewater and water treatment plants, the Bowling Green Board of Aldermen voted 5-0 to table any further action regarding these potential purchases until the board meets later this month.