The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

January 2, 2014

CAFR: Tarboro’s numbers look good

BY JOHN H. WALKER
Associated Press

TARBORO — When the Tarboro Town Council meets on Jan. 13, one of the items that will be on the agenda is the town’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) — and the reaction to the contents of the 111-page report should be favorable.

The town’s financial reports were audited by Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, of Hickory and the CAFR was submitted for review to the Government Finance Officers Association.

According to the report, fund balances in all four funds — General unassigned, Electric unassigned, Water & Sewer unassigned and Solid Waste unassigned — continue to grow.

The greatest growth came in the General Fund, where monies held in reserve to cover claims filed as part of the town’s former self-insured program, were released.

“We gave Blue Cross 12 months to get all the claims processed and we move the left-over money into the General Fund,” Town Finance Director Karla McCall said. The town had placed $500,000 in reserve to cover outstanding claims.

As a result of that reserve being returned, the unassigned fund balance for the General Fund stood at 35.33 percent of expenses. This marks the first year the town has exceeded the Fund Balance Policy goal of 30 percent for the General Fund.

The electric, water and sewer and solid waste are business-type activities operated by the town that are also known as enterprise funds. The electric fund represents 84 percent of the total operating costs of all three funds combined.

The available fund balance increased from 8.6 percent at the end of FY 2012 to 8.9 percent at the end of FY 2013. The Fund Balance Policy goal is 25 percent for the electric fund.

In water and sewer, the available fund balance increased from 46.6 percent at the end of end of FY 2012 to 60.6 percent at the end of FY 2013. The Fund Balance Policy goal is 50 percent.

The available fund balance increased from 31.9 percent at the end of end of FY 2012 to 35.3 percent at the end of FY 2013. The Fund Balance Policy goal is 25 percent for the solid waste fund.

The CAFR noted budgetary highlights including:

• Tax rate remained constant at 41 cents per $100 valuation

• A cost of living pay increase of 2.5 percent is included for employees

• The General Fund has no bonded indebtedness

• Water and sewer rates will not increase for FY 2013-2014

• A planned rehabilitation project of the town’s wastewater collection system, funded with  zero percent loan, will see engineering work begin in FY 2013-2014 and actual construction in 2014-2015.

• No anticipated increase in wholesale electric rates in FY 2013-2014.

• No rate increase for solid waste in FY 2013-2014.

The complete CAFR is available on the town website at  HYPERLINK "http://www.tarboro-nc.com/media/CAFR2013.pdf" http://www.tarboro-nc.com/media/CAFR2013.pdf.