Blairsville, Ga – Rushton & Company reviewed the 2018 fiscal year with the Blairsville City Council during the May 7 meeting.
Clay Pilgrim, CPA for Rushton & Company, delivered the 2018 audit to members of city council.
“We’re pleased to present that we have an unmodified and clean opinion on the city’s financial statements for 2018,” opened Pilgrim, “Nothing came to our attention to issue a modified opinion.”
The city’s net investment in capital assets for 2018 was $23,290,219. The net position consisted of capital assets, lest appreciation on those assets, lest any debt that was used to acquire those assets.
The net total for the city was $28,964,773. The number varied from the past three years due to capital grants and contributions.
“Large capital grants, you don’t have those year after year so they can cause variances. Since, this is full accrual basis of accounting, a lot of the time those capital grants are income, but you don’t have expenses with them because they capitalized and depreciated,” Pilgrim further explained.
In the General Fund, revenues increased $133,964 or 8.5 percent, which is a direct correlation to a tax increase of $124,566 and fines and forfeitures increase of $24,183.
Pilgrim addressed the tax escalations, “Important to note that those increases were largely title ad valorem tax at $41,000 and LOST at $54,000.”
Expenditures also grew in 2018 by $357,386 due to the purchase of property and personal services for the police department at $305,238 and general administration which increased by $40,513.
Water and Sewage Operating Revenue had decreased by $267,762. The decrease resulted from the 2017 project-related increase. However, the charges for water and sewage were up by $104,934. Operating expenses decreased by $151,213.
Airport Fund had decreased by $18,838 because of the reduction in jet fuel sales. Operating expenses were up by $53,259 because of the increase in the cost of sales and services.
“There was a deficit in the [Airport unrestricted net position] of $480,651,” said Pilgrim. This occurred due to grants made to the airport.
Pilgrim also discussed upcoming changes from the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).
“GASB Statement No. 87 which is going to be on leases and change the approach on leases. Currently, we have operating leases and capital leases, and they are trying to move to a more single approach, said Pilgrim “more toward the capital lease side of things, a lot more things on the balance sheet.”
The change applies to most governments leases, including real estate, and finance purchases.
Mayor Jim Conley asked, “What if you got an office equipment lease?”
Pilgrim explained that it does apply to a copier and postage equipment lease. However, materiality will be a factor. Trivial leases are not applicable.
“GASB Statement No. 88 is also coming that is certain disclosures relating to debt, debt borrowings, and debt direct placements,” stated Pilgrim, “This one will really just add some additional disclosures in the financial statements, which we will assist with.”
Finally, Rushton & Company already implemented GASB 89, and it accounts for interests and costs during a construction period. The city no longer has to capitalize construction costs into certain funds when reporting them.
“We thank you for coming and for bringing our audit,” said Mayor Conley, “We appreciate your work.”
Pilgrim added, “If you have any questions after the meeting, feel free to reach out to him.”
Chamber of Commerce Director Steve Rowe stated, “The final payment on the Wi-Fi project using donated funds for the Wi-Fi that is going to be out at Meeks Park. It’s going to be free Wi-Fi and we’re shooting to have it installed before the Sorghum Festival.”
The police department received approval to purchase a new license plate reader because the current reader has become outdated. Also, the council approved the hiring of a part-time officer, Dustin Walker.
The council approved the auger style lime feeder for the water treatment plant. The current feeder no longer works due to the quality of the lime, and the plant had to use a more expensive chemical to change the water’s ph levels.
Sewage treatment plant installed new mixing tanks and decided against using Leech 8 due to the high ammonia. The plant handles 28-30 parts per million, but with Leech 8, the ammonia would be 2,000 parts per million.
Downtown Development Authority reported that over 75 vendors have signed up for May 24-25 Arts and Crafts Festival and 32 vendors for the Green Bean Festival in July.