Council pleased with Town of La Plata audit report
On Jan. 24, the La Plata Town Council had an op- portunity to discuss and give feedback concerning the completed Fiscal Year 2015-2016 Town of La Plata audit report. Cohn- Reznick LLP auditors Dan Kenney and Shannon En- glehart highlighted their findings in a presentation shown during the coun- cil’s business meeting.
“This is an annual event for us. We are required by law to have the finances of the town audited by an independent auditor. That task was completed in December and this is the chance for the auditors to come and present the re- sults of that audit. This is the sixth year that we’ve had the same audit firm conducting the audit,” said town Treasurer Robert Oliphant.
“I know how much ef- fort goes into these reports and I commend [the auditors] on the work they have done,” said Mayor Roy G. Hale.
The auditors examined the town’s financial statements of governmental activities, the business-type activities, each major fund, the aggregate remaining
fund information and the budgetary comparison for the General Fund for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2016.
Kenney and Englehart went through each section of the report: the auditor’s opinion, the auditor’s in- ternal control report, the Statement on Auditing Standards 114 letter, pre- sentation of financial statements, financial highlights and future consideration.
“In Internal Control, we noted no material weak- nesses or significant de- ficiencies in the internal control structure over the Town of La Plata from the previous year until June 30, 2016. In compliance of other matters, it indicates that the results of our test disclose no instances of non-compliance to be re- ported,” Kenney said.
Kenney discussed a summary of the accounting practices included in the SAS 114 letter. He said this year the town adopted GASB Statement No. 72 (Governmental Account- ing Standards Board) — investments measured at fair value — and those were recorded. The town also adopted GASB State- ment No. 79, accounting and financial reporting for certain external invest- ment pools and pool participants.
“In the previous year [the town] adopted GASB Statement No. 68 — ac- counting and financial reporting for pensions — and that was a significant estimate [included in the audit] as well,” Kenney said.
Engleheart presented the financial highlights and graphs that show the report’s comparisons to previous years.
“The Net Position has increased over FY 2016, due to the revenue and expenses,” Englehart said. “Changes in Capital Assets — the main factors that contributed to these values are about $2 million of depreciation and then about $893,000 of Capital Assets were purchased during the year. That mainly consisted of soft- ware, police vehicles, con- structions on bike trails, sidewalks and roads.”
She added that the change in long term debt this year decreased by about $2.5 million due to the town’s bonds being paid off.
“The Net Pension Lia- bility in total shows an es- timated $300,000 increase from last year,” Englehart said.
During the presentation, the auditors stated that the GFOA (Government Finance Officers Associ- ation) recommends that “general-purpose govern- ments,” regardless of size, maintain an unassigned fund balance in their gen- eral fund for a minimum of two months (of regular general fund operating revenues or regular gen- eral fund operating expen- ditures).
“GFOA recommenda- tions for the unassigned fund balance amount is no less than two months. The town’s balance is 10 months, so it’s well over the two months and higher than recommended,” Englehart said.
The audit report also states that the town’s financial statements and all supplementary information are presented and stated fairly in all material respects. It is also is in compliance with certain provisions of laws, regulations, contracts, grant agreements and other matters required by Government Auditing Standards.
“I think that the discussion and analysis is exceptional and I commend them on their work. It probably goes beyond what it is minimally recommended,” said Councilman Joseph Norris (Ward IV). “If anybody who’s interested in what is going on with the town and they do not have to have
a financial background to understand it, I think it does an outstanding job with giving a picture of what is going on with the finances of the town.”
“[The audit report] explains the terms, it explains each of the accounts, you can trace it to the financial statements ... and compare the numbers over time to show trends. We had a slight lapse in enterprise funds, but I know overall we still did really well and as [the auditors] pointed out, our reserves are pretty strong so we are still headed in the right direction,” Hale said.