According to our website statistics, very few people access the financial information that is available. But, people do talk about it!
For the past several years, details about the budget, actual revenues and disbursements have been published on the City’s website. Anyone interested in City finances can find a great deal of current and historical information including monthly disbursement registers and quarterly financial reports.
Once a year, an independent accounting firm audits the City’s financial statements and issues an opinion. Their report is posted on the website with a full set of statements prepared in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), footnotes, budget comparisons, and a narrative discussing financial matters.
The most recent document available is the 2013 Q3 Interim Financial Report. Quarterly reports are not required but serve an important purpose. They are presented in a public meeting and communicate how the City is doing financially more frequently than required. This helps officials manage resources and ensure budget compliance.
Since interim reports are not a regulatory requirement, the City can include other schedules that communicate important financial information even though they are not recognized as an official part of GAAP financial statements. More detail is provided for the most significant sources of revenue and expenditures (like sales tax and personnel costs), and operating metrics are included.
A variety of different communication tools in addition to numbers are used in an effort to make the information easier to understand, such as charts, graphs and a narrative. Regulatory agencies recognize that a written message from management is important to tell the story behind the numbers, which is required for public company filings as well as for governments.
Highlights for the first nine months of 2013 include that retail sales and residential development activity provided a revenue increase in the general and enterprise funds, respectively. Although the report shows the City generated $656,000 more than the total expenditures, a use of some reserves should be expected in 2013 because of the timing of capital expenditures. Excluding use of the USDA loan proceeds, total cash balances across all funds increased nearly $1.5 million in 2012, and a portion of that money in reserves will be invested in 2013 for assets that will serve the community for years to come. Debt was reduced in the enterprise funds by $146,000 and will be reduced another $263,000 in the fourth quarter. Across all funds, the total debt reduction in 2013 will be $467,000.
Analyzing interim financial results also helps the City prepare a final amended budget that generally becomes the current year projection against which the future year budget is compared. A budget cannot perfectly anticipate revenue collections or expenditure needs for the coming year, and Colorado’s budget law recognizes municipalities may need to amend the budget.
Both the interim financial statements and a budget amendment will be discussed at the next regular city council meeting to be held at 7:00 pm on November 5th.
Finally, to help readers find financial information on the website, please note that they are now organized under the Document Library, which is on the right side of the home page. The list of financial documents posted on the Administration page grew rather large and, recently, our website consultant suggested creating a Financial Documents page to better organize the information by major categories.
If you are interested in details you cannot find, please do not hesitate to call and ask the City about it! Generally, the only information not released publicly relates to litigation or certain personnel matters. And, if you have suggestions for other information that would be useful, let us know.