01/21/04 — City gets good news on its audit report

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City gets good news on its audit report

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on January 21, 2004 2:03 PM

What once was thought to have been a $1.7 million loss for Goldsboro has turned into a $400,000 gain.

City Council members received the good news Tuesday from Dean Horne of the accounting firm of Pittard, Perry & Crone Inc.

Horne said the city received an "unqualified opinion," for its audit, which is the highest level available in the reporting system.

There were no compliance problems, Horne said, because the financial records were correct.

But the biggest, and most pleasant, surprise was hearing that the city managed to sock away $400,000 to put in its general fund.

"It was thought that you would use about $1.7 million in fund balance this year," Horne said. "Instead, you put back $400,000."

The only cloudy spot in the audit was finding out about the low tax collection rate for motor vehicles.

Horne said the property tax collection rate was about 95 percent, but that the vehicle rate was only about 74 percent. The county collects the tax money for both the city and the county.

The money not yet collected for vehicle taxes is around $450,000.

"But for some reason the vehicle tax collection rate in the eastern part of the state is right around there," Horne said. "I don't know why eastern North Carolina lags below."

Councilman Chuck Allen commended the city manager and the department heads for the excellent audit.

"To add $400,000 is pretty darn good," he said. "We look forward to what you can do next year."

The city's revenues met the $21.6 million expected during budget projections, but the city didn't spend the projected $25 million.

That meant that not only did the city not have to draw the $1.7 million out of reserves, it also managed to put some back.

City Manager Richard Slozak credited the department heads and staff of the city for keeping well under budget.

Slozak said that there wasn't one thing that saved money, but a combination of factors, including some job vacancies in the city and cutting back on overtime pay.

"We were able to do a lot of small things by scrutinizing expenditures," he said.