City of Saline Books Deemed Clean in Annual Audit

The City of Saline's financial records are clean, according to the annual audit conducted by Plante Moran.

The audit presentation was given by Josh Yde, CPA and senior audit manager.

"I'd like to start by mentioning that the audit did receive an unmodified opinion, which is the highest level of assurance we can give that the financial statements are stated properly. Basically, what that means is that you can rely on the numbers within the financial statements," Yde told council

The audit was not included in the city council agenda packet.

Yde said the city continues to fund its retirement obligations at rates higher than the state requires.

"The state requires 60 percent on the pension and 40 percent on OPEB (retirement benefits). You are well above those thresholds," Yde said.

The audit did show the city's unassigned fund balance did decrease significantly last year. The unassigned fund balance is a cushion or rainy day fund for the city. Last year the city used it for unbudgeted projects, such as an emergency fix a failing sewer in Wildwood, the installation of a crosswalk on Woodland Drive, and the construction of a sidewalk on South Monroe Street.

The unassigned fund balance dropped from 25 percent of the general fund to 12 percent.

In 2013 the city council adopted a policy that says that if the unassigned fund balance drops below 15 percent of the general fund budget the the city must take corrective measures. In that regard, the City Manager and Treasurer have instructed department heads to provide a laundry list of cost-cutting measures or suggestions for revenue enhancements.

Council will review options at the Dec. 19 meeting.

At long last, the audit did shed light on the health of the Rec Center. Until now, City Staff have declined to provide more detailed financial information about the Rec Center, which was crushed by COVID-19 lockdowns.

The audit showed that the Rec Center nearly broke even in 2019, not counting debt service. Revenues were $1,542,000 and expenses were $1,588,000. But revenue dropped to $1,095,000 in 2020 (year ending June 30) and then just $751,000 in 2021.  Revenues are rebounding - but the costs remain high.

Expenses overran revenues by $46,000 in 2019, $263,000 in 2020, $493,000 in 2021 and $319,000 in 2022.

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