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Front Page » February 9, 2006 » Local News » Price releases fiscal data in audit process
Published 3,524 days ago

Price releases fiscal data in audit process

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Sun Advocate reporter

This police sign on 100 North in Price is covered because shortly the police station will be moving to north Price, into a renovated building that the city purchased from the federal government. Public safety is one of the largest expense categories for the city according to recently released figures.

An audit report issued by the accounting firm of Smuin, Rich and Marsing on Jan. 25 confirmed to city officials that the financial statements of the city for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2005 are in order.

The audit is required under state law to determine whether municipalities have maintained records which are in compliance with generally accepted accounting principals.

Along with the statement, the city released final budget figures for the fiscal year. Certain financial highlights noted by city accounting staff include:

•The city's total net assets decreased almost $1.3 million as a result of operations last year, a decrease of 1.4 percent.

•Expenses totaled $7.3 million. That figure is $1.9 million more than the $5.4 million in governmental revenues brought in. Though governmental expenditures ran more than revenues, the overage is slightly lower than last year, when governmental activities ran a deficit of $2.3 million.

•In addition to governmental expenditures and revenues, the city also operates certain business operations, such as utilities. Revenues for business operations totaled $6.8 million while expenditures were $6.3 million. Both figures are lower than the previous year, with revenues down 5.1 percent and expenses down 2.2 percent.

•After transfers, both government and business-type activities showed deficits for the year. Government activities reported a deficit slightly more than $1 million and enterprise activities showed a deficit of $241,372.

The two fund types reported by the city include governmental funds and proprietary funds. Governmental funds include most of the city's basic services. Expenses include police, fire, highway, public improvements, parks and general administration.

Revenue sources for governmental activities include property taxes, franchise fees, sales taxes and state and federal grants.

The city's principal source of revenue for government activities is sales tax. Nearly $3 million of the city's $5.3 million in revenues came from sales taxes. Other sources of revenue included property taxes, $982,071; charges for services, $725,498; operating grants, $438,105; capital grants, $181,137; and other general revenues, $75,448.

Mayor Joe Piccolo noted the city's dependency on sales tax and that more than half of the city's revenue is derived from it. He reminded council, staff and members of the public that bills before the legislature could alter sales tax formulas, modifications that could significantly change the revenue structure for many cities.

The largest expenditures for the year were in highways and public improvements, where expenses were more than $2.4 million. Another large area for expenditures are public safety activities, which account for more than $1.8 million.

Other expenses included general government activities, $1,653,545; parks and recreation, $843,223; capital outlay, $415,105; intergovernmental, $61,100; economic development, $45,265; and interest and long-term dept, $4,533.

Business activities include services for which the city charges fees to customers. Water, sewer and electrical services are included in this category. Many cities make a limited profit in this area. Generally, profits are funneled into governmental funds to subsidize other government functions.

In 2004, the city transferred $1.2 million from business-type activities to governmental activities. In 2005, that figure was slightly lower, down to $857,150.

The city's largest source of revenue falls into enterprise activities. Charges for services totaled almost $6.8 million. Other general revenues for this category included $142,192.

Price city's largest expenses also fell into business-type activities. Electrical expenses totaled more than $3 million and water and sewer totaled more than $2.6 million. The Desert Wave Pool cost the city $572,214 and the Price Community Center cost $36,515.

Certain other financial activities for the city fall into a third category. In these activities, the city acts as a trustee. These funds are connected with certain fiduciary activities. These funds cannot be used to fund governmental operations and are tied specifically with certain trust arrangements.

Aside from revenue and expenditures, the city's financial statements also reported the capital assets for Price. In governmental activities, the city reported $1 million in land holdings, $2.5 million in buildings, $1.2 million in other improvements, $875,884 in equipment, nearly $4.5 million in infrastructure, and $235,335 in works in progress. Total assets for the city's governmental activities totaled $10.3 million. That's down from the previous year, when the city reported more than $11 million in assets.

Business assets included $994,922 in water stock, $214,660 in land, $6.6 million in buildings, $15 million in other improvements and $387,383 in equipment. Total assets reported under business activities exceeded $23.2 million.

During the year, the city acquired more than $1.2 million in additions to capital assets. A 10-wheel dump truck was purchased with class C road funds for $78,667. City funds purchased an ozone chemical system for the swimming pool for $75,837. The east Price electrical system was purchased at a cost of $956,160 in city funds and bonds. And a sewer line replacement cost Price $158,828 from city funds.

At the end of the fiscal year, the city reported that it had $10.3 million in bonds and leases outstanding. That is virtually unchanged from fiscal year 2004.

City financial officers also offered a budgetary outlook for the current fiscal year.

"The city's elected and appointed officials considered many factors when setting the fiscal year 2005 budget. One of those factors is the economy," the report stated.

Continuing with a trend spanning more than a decade, the population in Price and Carbon County has been declining. Unemployment in Carbon County in October 2005 was reported at 5.6 percent. That is slightly higher than the state average of 4.7 percent. However, on a positive note, unemployment was down from the previous year when it was reported at 6.3 percent.

The report noted that many of the county's new jobs are temporary. Much of the positive job growth has been in construction and transportation.

Still, resources in the county and region may be in higher demand and show higher profits because if the increase in energy prices. Increasing energy prices could drive up the value of natural resources in the region. Coal production saw an increase of 44 jobs. However, that increase was offset by a decrease in gas production jobs.

An increasing job market is in the area of manufacturing. More than 100 new jobs were added last year in wood products, coal products, metal fabrication and machinery manufacturing.'

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