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City finances receive glowing audit
Professionals who conducted the annual audit had nothing but praise for the city
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CLEARWATER – The Clearwater City Council members who heard the annual financial audit report by the city’s external auditors, Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C., at their April 28 work session received a double dose of good news.

First, the city passed the audit with flying colors. Second, the report was so good that they wouldn’t have to wade through the 190-page report prepared by the city’s finance department, looking for ways to make improvements.

Laura Brock, spokeswoman for Mayer Hoffman McCann, presented her firm’s findings. She said that they had issued an Independent Auditor’s Report on financial statements, a management discussion and analysis, basic financial statements and notes to them, supplementary information, regulatory items such as an internal control report and compliance report, and a management letter.

A “condensed statement of net position” compared the city’s assets, liabilities and net positions during the fiscal years that ended on Sept. 30, 2012 and 2013. It showed that the total of both “current assets” and “capital assets” jumped during that period, with the combined totals of the two rising $12.1 million from $1.06 billion in 2012 to $1.07 billion in 2013. Brock attributed much of that increase to the fact that construction projects that were underway in 2012 were completed in time for the 2013 audit.

During that same period, the total liabilities dropped from $295.5 million to $290.6 million. And the city’s “total net position” of assets over liabilities rose from $765.8 million to $782.8 million.

“In the enterprise operations (such as gas, water and sewer, solid waste, and storm water) you’re showing a profit,” Brock told the council.

The total for those operations jumped from $24.5 million in 2012 to $27.9 million in 2013. Meanwhile, the cost of operating such non-enterprise functions as public safety, recreation, transportation, human services and general government dropped from $88.8 million in 2012 to $87.9 million in 2013.

General revenues from such things as investment earnings and taxes on property, sales, utilities, communications and other things has dropped from $84.2 million in 2012 to $77 million in 2013. Brock attributed a large portion of that drop to the fact that the return on investments had declined from a positive $6.4 million in 2012 to a negative $2.4 million in 2013.

There were no “audit adjustments” or “passed adjustments” needed, and no “control deficiencies and management letter comments” reported, according to Brock’s presentation.

“This is our fourth year of doing this audit, and the second year without deficiencies,” Brock told the council. “Believe me; we have other cities with lots of things to report.”

Mayor George Cretekos called the report “good news.” Councilmember Bill Jonson, who had plenty of experience with budgets when he was a Honeywell project manager, praised the “terrific work” done by the city’s staff.
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