Westerly Board and School Department Earn High Scores from Auditor for Tax Practices | Where is


WEST — The city receives top marks for its financial practices, maintaining a healthy surplus and funding the police pension at an acceptable level.

The positive comments came during a town hall on Monday when Erica Olobri, a chartered accountant at Marcum LLP, reviewed the findings of the annual audit, also known as the full annual financial report. The audit, which is required by state law, covered the fiscal year ended June 30, 2021.

“We received our information in a timely manner. The teams you have in place at the school department and the city are excellent,” Olobri said.

The annual audits consist of examining, on the basis of surveys, the evidence in support of the amounts and information appearing in the financial statements drawn up by the finance departments of the municipalities and the schools; assess the accounting principles followed and the significant estimates made by city and school officials; and assess the overall presentation of the financial statements provided to the auditors.

“The independent auditors have concluded, based on the audit, that there is a reasonable basis to render an unmodified opinion, that the financial statements of the City of Westerly for the year ended June 30, 2021 are presented faithfully in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.”, part of a letter accompanying the audit reads.

The city government ended the fiscal year with an undesignated surplus or fund balance of $14.8 million, equivalent to about 16% of the city budget.

“You’re at the high end of the healthy target and that’s a good thing bond rating agencies are always looking for,” Olobri said, referring to agencies that rate cities’ ability to repay loans or bonds. Higher ratings generally translate to lower interest rates for borrowing.

The School Department’s fund balance was $4.9 million at year-end.

“Everything is going in the right direction. It’s really good to keep going,” Olobri said.

Municipal revenues were $2.8 million higher than forecast in the annual budget and property taxes were $1.3 million higher than forecast. Municipal spending was $2.87 million lower than expected, an amount that included $1.7 million in capital projects that were delayed but are expected to go ahead, Olobri said.

The city’s three corporate funds – water utility, sewer utility and transfer station – all ended the year with positive net positions. Enterprise funds are associated with municipal services that are paid for by service users.

The retired police officers’ pension was 87.25% funded and had a net liability of $7.3 million at the end of the year. The city has funded or exceeded the required annual contribution developed by the city’s actuarial firm over the past 10 years, Olobri said.

The city ended the year with a net liability of $10.3 million for other post-employment benefits, which includes items such as health insurance, and ended the year with a ratio of capitalization of 43.10%, compared to a capitalization ratio of 32.8% at the end of the previous financial year. fiscal year.

“Full funding is highly recommended but not required at this stage,” Olobri said.

Many other cities it audits fund other post-employment jobs at a funding rate of just 20%, Olobri said.

Councilor Philip Overton, a certified financial planner, called the audit report “the finest financial report I have seen in my years on council”. He then praised the work of City Finance Manager Dyann Baker and School Department Finance and Operations Manager Cindy Kirchhoff.

“I would like to thank Dyann and Cindy for the work you both do because when we get good numbers, we can make good decisions,” Overton said.

Councilor Christopher Duhamel was also pleased with the audit findings.

“A mark of good government is to stick to a budget and to have a strong and secure fund balance,” Duhamel said.

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