Local News

AP financial audit, utility credit top meeting

— Although the meeting was held two days past the usual date, the city’s audit was more timely and the results show nearly $500,000 has been added to the general operating fund.

The audit presentation for fiscal year 2013 for Avon Park was made at an Avon Park City Council Special Meeting held Wednesday instead of Monday due to the Memorial Day holiday.

In addition, the city council passed an ordinance giving residents who use an Automated Clearing House to pay city bills an annual $12 utility credit. An ACH is also an automatic, monthly bank draft.

Presented by Certified Public Accountants Brian Quinlin and Julie Fowler, of CliftonLarsonAllen accounting in Sebring, the city’s audit was completed by city staff 30 days ahead of the state deadline.

In 2012, delays in bank and payroll reconciliations caused the audit to be over 30 days late, in violation of state statutes.

Avon Park City Manager Julian Deleon said for the year ending Sept. 30, 2013, the audit showed that seven “findings” — results of the audit — were cleared and two were partially cleared.

Those cleared included “timeliness in bank reconciliations,” “billing adjustments,” “utility deposits” and “adjustments and timeliness of financial reporting.” Partially cleared were “review of journal entries” and “capital assets subsidiary ledger and physical inventory.” Remaining to be cleared for 2014 include “controls over payroll processing” and “purchasing cards.”

“We’re working through this list and every year we’re mostly making improvements,” Deleon said.

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Financially, the audit showed the city’s general fund has a reserve of 41 percent of total expenditures. Many municipalities and organizations aim for 20 percent, Deleon noted.

Due to a decrease in expenditures in 2013, $492,075 was added to the general fund, bringing the total reserve amount to $2,571,459.

“I’m pleased with the outcome. It’s clear we’re making improvements,” said Deleon. “I think we’re in real good shape. We ended up with a positive fund balance, which added to the city’s revenue.”

According to the audit, Avon Park’s infrastructure fund increased by $252,779, bringing that reserve to almost $1.9 million; water-sewer added about $809,000, up to a reserve of $4,642,050.

In addition, the Avon Park Executive Airport currently owes the sanitation fund $553,798. Deleon said the money owed is from city funds and not from any external debts to Avon Park. He said, over the course of several budgetary periods, the airport’s expenditures exceeded the revenues. The airport primarily generates revenues from hangar rentals.

With the solid waste fund’s $26,580, the city’s total reserve is about $1.2 million.

Overall, with revenue exceeding expenditures, Avon Park ended the fiscal year with a general fund of about $2.6 million — up from about $2.1 million at the beginning of the year — and an infrastructure fund of about $1.9 million, up from $1.6 million.

“It was a pleasure to see it was done in a timely basis. We’re always addressing areas of concern and we’re committed to keep getting stronger,” said Councilman Parke Sutherland.

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In other action, the city council approved an ordinance that sets up a utility credit of $12 per year for all customers who participated in automated ACH billing processing. The registration form for the ACH can be downloaded from utility billing at www.avon park.cc.

Once completed, the form can be emailed, faxed or dropped off with Utility Billing Supervisor Ashley Ellerker.

The new ACH system allows the city to debit a customer’s designated banking account for the amount due for a specific month.

After the account is debited, the city will mail that customer a receipt showing the payment debited and the credit posted.

Deleon said in the past two or three years, they have added more than 1,000 new customers and another 300 are expected to be added within the next year. The ACH system automates the billing and payment collection process.

“As we continue to grow, we look forward to implementing some of the long-established technologies for billing,” he said. “This improves our efficiency to process payments and minimizes long-term labor costs.”


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