Woodstock ends year with ‘financial housekeeping’
by Michelle Babcock
December 17, 2013 11:00 PM | 1564 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Woodstock City Council did some “financial housekeeping” at its last meeting of the year on Monday, amending the city’s 2013 fiscal year budget, which ended on June 30, to reflect the city’s final revenue and expenditures for that fiscal year.

The council voted 5-0, with Councilwoman Liz Baxter abstaining, approving two amendments to the FY 2013 budget.

Woodstock Chief Financial Officer Robert Porche explained that the budget amendments were a “financial housekeeping function the council tries to do at the last meeting of each year.

“It’s tying down last fiscal year’s numbers to actual revenue and expenditure,” Porche said.

The amendments are used to zero out each line item of the city’s previous fiscal year budget; the amendments do not appropriate new money, he said.

“This was an audit comment from 2011, I believe. We’re exercising our due-diligence to avoid that kind of comment in 2013,” said Porche when he explained why the council was asked to approve the budget amendments.

“We did not do this two years ago, and we got an audit comment because of that,” City Manager Jeff Moon added.

Porche said the general fund audited statement “came off the press on Friday afternoon.”

“Our general funds are our lifeline and our main operating funds. Revenues were $839,853 higher than budgeted. Expenditures were $827,880 less than budgeted. We had a profit of $1.559 million in the general fund for fiscal year 2013,” Porche said. “That’s excellent news in the general fund specifically, we went from a negative fund balance of $601,000 to a positive of $957,000 in just one year.”

Porche said that “many departments played a role in following the adopted budget,” and additional revenue and reduced expenditure led to the city’s positive fund balance for FY 2013.

“Effectively, at June 30, 2012, the city had overspent its entire existence; $600,000 overspent. In 2013, we’re able to swing that to a positive $957,000,” Porche said.

Councilman Chris Casdia applauded Porche and the city’s efforts in financial management.

“That’s awesome,” Casdia said. “Good job, everybody.”

Casdia said that a few years ago the city had “weak internal controls,” and praised Porche’s leadership with the city’s financial department.

“I’m happy to see the strengthening of internal controls,” Casdia said. “Everybody did a great job. Job well done to all.”

Council-woman Tessa Basford agreed with Casdia’s statements.

Porche said the financial statements were sent to the New York audit firm Standard & Poor’s for the review of the city’s bond rating.

“They’ll be able to use those numbers in their consideration of our bond rating, which will be good,” Porche said. “The auditor will be here Jan. 13, 2014, and he will give the complete financial recap for 2013.”

Baxter said she had questions about the amendments, “but didn’t know where to start.”

Casdia made the motion to approve the adjustments, and Basford seconded the motion.

Baxter said she wanted council to have more time to look over the numbers in the budget amendments, and chose to abstain from the vote.

The next meeting of the Woodstock City Council will be Jan. 13 at 7 p.m., at The Chambers at City Center.

Also at the meeting on Monday, the council:

• Recognized outgoing Planning Commission member Julianne Stewart;

• Unanimously approved a variance for the Panda Express restaurant coming soon to the Outlet Shoppes of Atlanta;

• Unanimously approved reverting land back to a General Commercial zoning, located on the east side of Putnam Ford Road, south of Eagle Drive;

• Unanimously approved a Future-Conditions Floodplain map;

• Unanimously tabled the vote on a request to rename Poor Street to Clay Street;

• Unanimously approved a budget amendment to allow staff to use $226,896 for continued groundwater investigations; and

• Reviewed possible topics for the council’s February 2014 Towne Hall meeting, including updates on education, the Greenprints trail system and the city’s groundwater search.

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