STANFORD — Aside from a few minor glitches, accountant Craig Butler gave Stanford City Council positive marks in discussing the city’s 2010-11 audit Tuesday night.
“You guys are actually headed in the right direction now,” Butler, a Danville CPA who has been performing Stanford’s annual financial review for several years, told the council.
According to Craig’s calculations, the city began the 2011-12 fiscal year with $26,706 in unassigned, or leftover, funds, the first time in several years as the city has struggled to put its budget together. While that number could be higher, Craig said the city’s more recent financial information shows an improving picture.
“That’s a little low for a city this size,” he said, “but that number is higher now. It has repaired itself to some degree.”
Craig’s analysis showed the city exceeded its budgeted expenditures by $172,614 in 2010-11. “The main culprit,” he said, was that council failed to amend its budget to show $66,493 in “pass-through” contributions the city received from the Logan’s Fort Foundation, which was then used to pay off contractors working on the fort.
Spending on the arts and Main Street program was $34,600 more than what was budgeted, which Craig said failed to reflect any fees or rental monies the city collected in operating those programs.
Those problems can be addressed by amending the budget throughout the year as needed to better reflect how much money the city took in versus how much it paid out, Craig said. “You can amend the budget as many times as you need,” he said.
Craig also noted that “for the third year in a row” his audit showed “there exists a lack of adequate segregation of duties related to recordkeeping and custody of assets.” It’s a problem many small towns have, Craig said, because they don’t have enough employees to spread out the duties of collecting funds, keeping records, making bank deposits and other things that could provide better oversight of financial matters.
Hiring additonal employees would correct the situation but isn’t a practical solution under the city’s current financial situation, Craig said. He suggested council members continue to review and ask questions about monthly expenses during City Council meetings to safeguard against questionable spending.