Price city officials vote to accept independent audit
The Price City Council voted to accept the annual independent auditors' report of basic financial statements in a Jan. 12 public meeting.
The report included financial records of the Price Municipal Corporation for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2004.
City assets decreased $1.5 million from fiscal year 2003: $274,513 in business-type activities and $1,236,662 in government activities.
Government activity expenditures exceeded revenue by $2.3 million.
Last year, expenses were $2.2 million more than revenue.
Government revenue increased 3.1 percent, while Price city expenses grew 3.4 percent.
Significant sources of revenue included sales tax, rising 6.2 percent; a transfer from the electric fund to general fund of $1.2 million; property tax, which increased 4.4 percent; and highway taxes.
Areas of most spending included general government, public safety, highways and public improvements and parks and recreation.
Business-type activities generated $7.2 million in revenue, increasing 3.9 percent from 2003.
Spending saw an increase of 8.3 percent, totaling $6.5 million, due mostly to personnel costs, daily operations and maintenance.
Business-type funds include revenues generated through services provided to residents and businesses, such as electricity and other utilities.
After transfers, both government activities and business-type activities incurred deficits: $1,256,205 in government activities, $254,970 in business-like activities.
Accountants Smuin, Rich and Marsing reviewed the city's financial records, the firm issued an independent opinion that the records were in order and complied with generally accepted accounting practices and "present fairly, in all material respects, the respective financial position of [activities and funds of] Price Municipal Corporation."
While Price's population continued to decrease, as it has for the past 10 years, unemployment is on the decline in the city and county.
In third quarter 2004, the unemployment in the county was 5.6 percent, declining for the sixth consecutive quarter.
Unemployment remains higher than the state average of 4.8 percent.
The report suggested stronger economics ahead, citing increased construction activity, gross taxable sales and plans to reopen area coal mines.
While declines in employment occurred in both goods and service producing industries in second quarter 2004, there was positive growth in information, private education, health services and leisure and hospitality.
Building permit valuation increased 25 percent in the second quarter, suggesting growth in construction.
Increases occurred in new residential construction and remodeling projects. New residential construction in Price was up 35 percent in third quarter.
Residential and non-residential remodeling almost doubled during the fiscal year.
Acting on unrelated items on last Wednesday's agenda, Price City Council approved three home occupied businesses and five conditional use permits, one of which approved the remodeling of the Silvagni Building for Discovery phone center at 6 East Main Street. The proposed relocation of the phone center would bring 77 jobs in the downtown area.
"That's a good thing for our community," said Jeanne McEvoy, who moved to approve the permit. Employees at the new facility would be required to use off-street public parking. Tony Basso has purchased space for 10 additional parking stalls behind the Newhouse Hotel to accommodate the increased parking demand. McEvoy explained that the Planning and Zoning Commission agreed that there is enough parking in the vicinity to accommodate increased demand and recommended the approval of the permit.
City council members also heard a claim for damages from Hampton McArthur and voted to address the matter in two weeks pending further review. McArthur is seeking compensation for costs of repairing a city sewer main which allegedly sank, causing a clog in the line from his home.
Price City Redevelopment Agency voted to approve funding for the David Anderson building at 49 North 500 East. Council member Stephen Denison expressed concern that the project was not a restoration effort and would not qualify for the full $15,000 requested. The project is estimated to cost $48,000, with the balance coming from Anderson's personal funds.