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Layton receives favorable audit report

By Antone Clark, Standard-Examiner Correspondent - | Dec 7, 2014

LAYTON — The finances of Davis County’s largest city are so sound that even efforts to spend $1.7 million in surplus in the 2013-2014 fiscal year budget fell short, a recently released audit reveals.

The city ended the fiscal year, which ended June 30, with an assigned fund balance of $5.1 million, or 17.35 percent of the general fund, which represents an increase of $1.2 million in the balance from the previous year. The increase in linked in part to an increase in sales tax revenue of $609,440 from fiscal year 2012-2013 to last year and a challenge by Mayor Bob Stevenson for staff to save 2 percent. Staff actually saved 2.78 percent of budgeted costs or $771,054 overall.

City staff had budgeted $1.7 million from the surplus toward use in the budget.

“Instead of using fund balance as a total, we actually added to the fund balance,” Tracy Probert, city finance director, said of the outcome.

The audit also revealed no major findings, or financial issues that needed to be corrected. Probert said it is the best opinion city leaders could have hoped for.

The result gave city leaders something to crow about.

Stevenson said staff responded well to his challenge to be smart about how the city is doing business.

“I think all the employees should not only be congratulated and thanked, it is commendable. People are trying to look and try and save and spend tax dollars wisely” Stevenson said.

Even auditor Robert Wood described the picture as positive.

“I’ve always been impressed with Layton City that you manage your finances well and you only take upon debt when you have to,” Wood told council members in a work session.

The audit, done by the certified public accounting firm of Hansen, Bradshaw, Malmrose and Erickson, P.C., also showed the following:

– besides a bump in sales tax revenue, the city also reported a 12.85 percent increase in energy tax collections.

– the city’s swimming pool continued to lose money. The pool showed a loss of $522,045. Officials use general fund revenues to subsidize costs at the facility.

– the city’s existing debt service decreased by $605,000 for the year and currently is at $3.69 million.

– Layton’s financial commitment to UTOPIA is not reflected in the existing debt. Councilman Scott Freitag wondered how the city’s commitment to the fiber-to-the-home network was reflected on the books and was told that question had been posed to a national expert, who said it should not be reported as city debt. The UTOPIA sales tax pledge, or bond, is reflected as an allowance against the loan receivable, Wood said

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