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Auburn’s fiscal surplus to more than double initial forecast

City’s general fund reserve to pass $3M mark for first time in 4 years
By: Jon Schultz, Journal Staff Writer
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The City of Auburn’s surplus for the current fiscal year is expected to be more than double what was originally forecasted.

With a surplus of $315,650 for 2012-13, the city’s general fund balance is on its way to breaking the $3 million mark for the first time since 2008-09. That’s nearly 5 1/2 times the surplus experienced the past fiscal year, which was the city’s first since before the recession.

This year’s surplus had originally been forecast to be $123,000.

The financial status report given by Auburn Administrative Services Director Andy Heath showed the year’s revenues to be $963,629 more than originally forecasted along with $771,534 more in expenditures.

Some of the surplus can be attributed to property tax and sales tax revenues coming in higher than expected with respective increases of $182,324 and $175,000.

A majority of the added costs are one-time expenses, Heath said, and some are funded by grants such as the five new firefighters added in October 2012 through the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant.

The total general fund reserves are expected to be $3,042,156 – or 33 percent of the following year’s expenses – on June 30, the end of the fiscal year. In 2005-06, the last year the city experienced a surplus before the recession, Auburn had just more than $5 million in reserves, or 51 percent of the next year’s expenses.

Heath said keeping reserves above 30 percent of the next year’s expenses is a comfortable level, given that the fund balance is not currently declining.

The report was met with guarded optimism by the City Council at its most recent meeting.

“It doesn’t seem like we’re paying enough attention to expanding our reserves in a still very uncertain climate both federally and state, so while it’s nice to say we’re preserving our 33 percent, to me it’s  inadequate,” Councilman Dr. Bill Kirby said.

Mayor Kevin Hanley said the city’s prudence is starting to pay off. Councilman Mike Holmes said he’s pleased with the direction Auburn’s fiscal status is headed.

 

Jon Schultz can be reached at jons@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jon_AJNews