Tooele City’s financial standing is clean, according to an independent accounting agency.
Randy Jensen from certified public accounting agency WSRP of Salt Lake City, reviewed the city’s annual audit report for fiscal year July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016 at a 10 a.m. special business meeting on Dec. 28 at City Hall.
“We received a very good financial report,” Jensen said. “It’s hard for us to do our job without appropriate information.”
He referred to the work completed by Tooele City Finance Director Glenn Caldwell and Assistant Finance Director Shannon Wimmer in providing accurate financial statements to the auditors.
Mayor Patrick Dunlavy also lauded the city’s finance department and city council for being financially conservative.
Council members Debbie Winn and Brad Pratt said the city is in good financial shape because of the administration.
“Sometimes it can be a tight situation. We have a mayor and staff who are extremely careful with the way they spend money,” Pratt said.
The total primary government revenue and expenditures nearly matched the previous fiscal year. Tooele’s net position for the 2015 fiscal year figure came in at $190,641,336, compared to the 2016 total net position of $191,033,693.
Caldwell said that sales tax revenue has been flat the past few years. Winn pointed out that people still drive to Salt Lake County for purchases, and internet sales have cut into retail sales throughout the country.
Dunlavy emphasized that city leaders will continue to push economic development to generate more sales tax revenue. “This council and previous councils understand finance,” he said. “Their main focus is to not raise taxes.”
The audit states that the respective changes in financial position, the respective budgetary comparison for the general fund, and major special revenue funds and cash flows, ended in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States.
According to the audit, sales tax generated 31 percent of revenues with property taxes at 23 percent, charges for services 16 percent, franchise and other taxes 11 percent, grants and contributions 10 percent and miscellaneous 9 percent.
Jensen compared Tooele City to a company with assets totaling $250 million. The audit shows that Tooele cut its expenditures by nearly $2 million. In 2015, the net figure came in around $83.6 million, but dipped to $81.3 million in 2016.
Tooele’s business-type activities were up nearly $3 million from $106.9 million net position in 2015 to $109.7 million net position in 2016. These are enterprise funds such as water, sewer and solid waste departments that are paid for through fees.
Dunlavy said he is extremely satisfied with recent improvements to the city’s infrastructure to accommodate for future residential and business growth.
The report states that Tooele’s general fund increased by $950,305 as a result of the .25 percent transportation tax that began April 1, 2016. The report also shows that the unassigned fund balance for the general fund was $3,009,790, or 18.24 percent of total general fund expenditures.
The report included a page of notes about litigation in regard to a Tooele City lease agreement with Vernon Ranch Management (see related front-page story). There’s also a pending claim by a person riding a motorcycle who was injured when he was struck by a police car and suffered injuries. In October the city settled on a $29,000 claim against the city for defamation of character.
“You have taken a few hits with lawsuits, but have dealt with those in a responsible way,” Jensen said.