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City receives high scores for financial audit of fiscal year

Drew Butler
The Daily Ardmoreite
News alert

The Ardmore City Commission received the results of the audit for the 2019-2020 fiscal year during their meeting on Tuesday evening, and the results for both the year and looking forward were positive. The initial results were first compiled by Casey Russell CPA and then broken down into a more easily readable format by Frank Crawford of Crawford and Associates.

Russell addressed the commission first and told them the overall results looked good, and there were no problems of any kind.

“From a financial standpoint, all the numbers here are really good,” Russell said. “Your cash positions have maintained from last year to this year — in fact they’re up a little bit from last year — and your revenue positions have also stayed level between these two years.”

Russell pointed out that though he was expecting a sales tax drop off because of the coronavirus pandemic, that was not the case at all. The use tax, which is collected from online purchases, was up by about half a million dollars from the previous year.

Frank Crawford spoke to the city commission next, and he explained that his role is to take the results of the initial audit and create a useful visual aid to make more sense than columns of numbers.  He does this by creating a chart that rates various aspects of the city’s overall financial position on a scale of 1 to 10, with one being the lowest and 10 being the highest.

He said the city’s finances received a score of 7.9 overall which is quite strong as it is extremely difficult to get a score above a 9 and virtually impossible to get a 10.

“The city is at a 7.9 this year which is pretty consistent with what we’ve had for the last few years,” Russell said. “In fact, if you go back as many as six or seven year’s, you’ve pretty much always been in the mid to high sevens.”

Russell further broke the numbers down and gave the city a score of 7.3 for financial position and an 8.9 for the financial performance of the year ending June 20, 2020.

Russell also spoke about sales tax and said that Ardmore, like many other cities across the nation, actually collected more in sales tax revenue despite the pandemic. He said the virus actually led to high sales tax collections because people were not traveling.

“I had thought that COVID was going to cause a nightmare for us as far as sales tax was concerned for the last for months of the year,” Russell said. “I was completely backwards. Sales tax and use taxes went nuts in most cities, and that’s because people just didn’t go anywhere. They went and bought what they needed locally or online, and they didn’t travel around. So your sales tax ended up almost $2 million for the year.”

He also said the city is in a good place regarding assets to liabilities.

“The question is 'is everybody happy with the city’s abilities to pay vendors, employees and whoever it owes money to on time?',” Russell said. “We’ve got some really significant cash flow here. Basically for every dollar that we owe in current liabilities, we have a little over $7 in assets and receivable cash that we can use to pay it.”

Russell said that even when removing receivable cash — which is money that is due to come into the city from various revenue sources — out of the equation and looking only at assets currently on had, the city has a ratio of about $4 in assets to pay for every $1 in liability.