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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • Audit shows city in good financial health

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  • The city of Ardmore's financial performance during the 2011-12 fiscal year was judged to be well above satisfactory, according to its consultant, Crawford & Associates. During a presentation in the Monday night commission meeting, a presentation was delivered highlighting the city's marks, according to Crawford's "Performeter."
    "Crawford said they had come up with a Performeter, which puts cities into categories to compare apples to apples," city clerk Ken Campbell said. Campbell also said the Performeter is designed to highlight the audit, performed by Casey Russell, in a way the layperson can understand. The report is available online at ardmorecity.org or at the city clerk's office.
    The Performeter rates different categories on a scale of 1 to 10. The city received a 7.1 for its overall financial reading, which is well above satisfactory. Its financial position was rated 7.5, while financial performance and capability were each rated 6.9.
    "I would say Ardmore is better off than a majority of cities," Campbell said. "Even through the economic downturn a couple of years ago, Ardmore didn't have to go through the same steps others did with lay-offs."
    The city's assets-to-liabilities coverage was rated particularly high, as the city has nearly six times the current assets needed to pay its current liabilities. Campbell said the general fund was in better shape than the utility fund in that regard because of upgrades that had taken place, which included updates at the plants and water lines.
    "We had to issue debt," Campbell explained.
    Areas that were ranked low included capital asset condition and pension plan funding ratio.
    The capital asset condition, which compares capital assets to accumulated depreciation to determine the overall percentage of useful life remaining, was listed at 33 percent.
    "I'm not worried about that at all," Campbell said. "If you have 100 percent depreciable assets, you have not used anything at all. We try to make our assets last longer. Even though it's a negative, it can be viewed as a positive."
    The pension plan funding was listed at 82 percent, which was rated as a 1. The Performeter said even though it was acceptable, it remains funded well below satisfactory from a funding perspective.
    Campbell said the city has made strides in recent years to improve its performance with pension plan funding, and other entities would find the city's performance satisfactory.
    "They say 82 percent is not good, but if you talked to OMRF (Oklahoma Municipal Retirement Fund), they would tell you a different story," Campbell said. "Anything over 75 percent is good. Two years ago, we evaluated our situation. We have already made strides and improved in this area. We made changes and percentage of funding has gone up. The percentage we have put in has decreased, so we are moving in the right direction after we were below 70 percent two years ago. And we plan on continuing to move in the right direction."
    Page 2 of 2 - The city expects to begin its 2012-13 audit soon and, hopefully, have it completed by Dec. 31. This audit was the first the city has used Russell in addition to Crawford & Associates as a consultant. While it was more expensive, Campbell said using two auditors is a practice used by many municipalities. The reason there is a trend toward two auditors, is the city's adherence to recommendations from the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, which works to establish and improve accounting and financial reporting standards.
    "It was more expensive, it doubled this year," Campbell said. He also said Crawford expects the upcoming audit to cost less than half of what the most recent one cost because of the groundwork performed in familiarizing itself with city records and accounting methods.
    "During our next meeting, we will have our engagement letters to begin work for the 2012-13 fiscal year audit," Campbell said. "They are hoping to have it finished by Dec. 31 and at the latest Jan. 31, and we have never received it earlier than that."
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