High Town financial marks from auditor

The Town of Farragut got high marks from its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report presented Thursday, Feb. 11, during the regular Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020.

Whitlock & Company P.C. of Alcoa conducted the audit for the 2020 fiscal year, and CAFIR data was presented by Steve Horton, a senior manager in the company’s audit department.

Horton began by apologizing for the lateness of the report.

“We had problems with COVID that put us behind, so I apologize for that,” he said.

Typically the report would have been completed before the end of the calendar year.

Overall, Horton reported the audit resulted in an “unmodified opinion” indicating there were no irregular audit findings.

“It was a clean opinion, there were no findings and no items of concern,” he added.

“An unmodified opinion is the best option an auditing firm can give,” explained Trevor Hobbs, assistant to the Town administrator, during an interview.

Audit financial highlights included:

• Total assets of $83.7 million as of June 30, 2020 … and a net position of $83.1 million;

• Town governmental funds reported a combined ending fund balance of $38.9 million as of June 30, 2020, with approximately 48 percent ($18.5 million) in unassigned fund balance available for spending at the government’s discretion; this amount is 277 percent of the total General Fund expenditures of $6.7 million;

• Other than compensated absences in the amount of $210,327, the Town has no outstanding long-term debt;

• The Town’s net position increased by $5.2 million (from $77.9 million in 2019 to $83.1 million in 2020);

• Additionally, the Town’s investment in capital assets increased by $3.075 million (from $41.3 million as of June 2019 to $44.4 million as of June 2020), primarily through Town projects (McFee Park, Anchor Park, Campbell Station Inn among them); and ...

• The Town’s revenues increased by $500,000 (from $14.1 million in June 2019 to $14.6 million in June 2020), largely due to increased revenues from sales tax and wholesale beer and liquor tax.

“The Town continues to be in a strong financial position and a very liquid position as well,” Horton said.

“I also want to thank Allison (Myers, Town recorder and treasurer) and her staff — they were a pleasure to work with and very well organized.”

Myers has won many awards and honors through the years for her oversight of the Towns’ finances, including the Government Finance Officer’s Association Certificate of Achievement in Financial Reporting 28 years running.

“In order to be awarded a Certificate of Achievement, a government must publish an easily readable and efficiently organized comprehensive annual financial report,” Hobbs said. “This report must satisfy both generally accepted accounting principles and applicable local requirements.

“What this all kind of boils down to is that, despite the worst months of the pandemic and all that came with it, the Town increased revenues by $500,000 compared to FY 2019, managed to invest more into capital assets compared to FY 2019 and still ended the year in a better financial position than last year,” he added.

“This is largely due to the Town keeping its expenses low, having professional financial management and having a strong retail economy.”

• In other business, BOMA unanimously approved awarding the Smith Road sidewalk construction project to Whaley Construction LLC, which was the low bidder among seven bids received, at $622,664.90.

The project will construct a 5-foot concrete sidewalk and various roadway improvements along the northern side of Smith Road from Everett Road to Andover Boulevard.

Roadway improvements will include additional curb and gutter, stormwater drainage and asphalt resurfacing.