By Caleb Stento
During the citizens' communication portion of Monday’s city council meeting, Pete Blair of Blair and Associates presented council with the 2011 Audit Report. Overall, the message was positive. One highlight was the 2011 General Fund actual ending balance of $735,000, compared with the budgeted $553,000 and the 2010 total of $659,000. Additionally, efforts to pay down the Parks Fund deficit seem to be paying off.
“The big difference I saw was the Parks Fund which was very good. It’s still in a negative position, but that actually improved by about $300,000. If you keep that up in about two years you’ll actually be in a positive position,” Blair stated.
As Blair concluded his presentation, Councilman Gary Hansen said, “You make it sound pretty rosy.”
“Actually, overall the city is about $400,000 better than it was in 2010. Most cities and towns, if they can stay stable, they’re happy,” Blair replied.
Not intending to discount the positive note that 2011 ended on, but wanting to direct attention to where things stand well into the 2012 fiscal year, City Clerk Kathy Elmont drew attention to page 11 in the Audit Report. This page is part of the Management’s Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) that provides an outlook on economic factors and rates for the upcoming (2012) fiscal year. This document will soon be available on the city’s website.
Elmont focused on moving other parks funds into the General Fund. “That, on an ongoing basis, puts more demand on the General Fund,” Elmont stated. “Not to put a damper on it but just a caution.”
According to the page Elmont referenced, as of Dec. 31, 2011, the unassigned funds balance in the General Fund was $338,559. This represents approximately three months of expenditures, which meets council’s goal. However, $297,000 of the unassigned fund balance was budgeted for expenditure in 2012, leaving a balance of $41,559, well below the three month preference. Additionally, property tax revenues for 2012 general operating purposes are now estimated to decrease 14 percent, or approximately $53,000.
There is, however, one more positive in the section. “Sales tax revenue account for 51% of the total budgeted General Fund revenue. They are estimated to increase five percent in 2012 due to increased regional tourism and slightly improved overall economic conditions,” the document states.
While approving the minutes from the last meeting, Councilman John Ferguson wanted to clarify a point. In the minutes it stated that he was not in favor of conservation measures, pertaining to council’s adoption of Resolution No. 7 recommending water conservation. The resolution asks citizens who live on the east side of U.S. Highway 550 to limit yard irrigation to Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and those that live on the west side of 550 to Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. The resolution also states that the City of Ouray will water the streets for dust control only three days per week as needed and limit all city park irrigation to one day per week.
Ferguson clarified that he is “in favor of conservation measures. I was not in favor of the resolution because of the lack of enforcement that was apparent.”