Laura Wills

Comptroller Laura Wills gives the city council an update on the city's 2016-2017 fiscal year budget. 

AUBURN — An audit of the city of Auburn's 2016-2017 fiscal year budget showed no areas of concern.

Patrick Jordan, a partner with Insero & Company Certified Public Accountants, said during Thursday night's Auburn City Council meeting that he saw "a lot of good, positive things" while conducting the city's audit. 

The audit found "no material instances of noncompliance and no material internal control weaknesses regarding compliance" with all policies, according to the audit report.

Issues that were found during last year's audit, such as the city's capitalization policy and performing a formal internal risk assessment, have been rectified or are in the process of being rectified. 

"A general sense of (how) all things went to me was very well," Jordan said "The numbers are positive."

City Comptroller Laura Wills went more in-depth into the city's 2016-2017 budget.

Overall, the city's debts are decreasing, Wills said. The city's long-term debt decreased by $3.2 million from the previous fiscal year and the city's percent of debt limit exhausted is now at 56.1 percent, which is a 10-percent decrease from the previous fiscal year. 

Additionally, four out of the city's five main funds ended the year with a positive balance. The city's special grant fund netted a loss of $7,958. The city's largest fund, the general fund, had approximately $31.2 million in expenditures with about $32.3 million in revenue from taxes, charges for services and state and federal aid. 

The city's total fund balance now sits at about $14 million. Looking back over the last seven years, Wills noted the balance is on the rise from 2012, when the balance dropped from over $20 million to just under $12 million. 

"We're not even back to where we were yet so we're working our way up steadily," Wills said. "It's important to remember that a lot of damage can be done in one year."  

Wills said a decrease in debt and an increase in fund balances will help improve the city's credit score. 

"I heard a lot good news," Councilor Jimmy Giannettino said. "Thank you for the hard work and the vigilance." 

In other news 

• Wills also presented to the council the five-year projections for the city's three main power utility facilities: the Mill Street hydroelectric facility, the North Division Street hydroelectric facility and the cogeneration landfill gas to electric facility. 

Long-term estimates suggest that the Mill Street project will break even in 2034 and the North Division Street project could see revenue as soon as 2018. Wills said the North Division Street facility has the potential to be a huge money maker for the city. 

The city will be paying off debt associated with the failed cogen facility — which was "mothballed" in 2016 due to five years of operating losses — until 2038. 

"I applaud the city council for shutting this down last year," Wills said. 

• Director of Capital Projects Christina Selvek presented the city's 2018-2022 Capital Improvement Program plan to the council. 

Over the next five years, Selvek said the city will need $40.8 million for capital projects, which include funds for public safety, transportation and municipal utilities. 

During the 2018 fiscal year, the city plans to purchase two new fire trucks for $1.8 million, as well as four new trucks and one forklift for the Department of Public Works. 

The city's total capital projects budget for the 2018 fiscal year is projected to be $7.4 million. 

Council will vote to approve the plan during the Nov. 2 city council meeting. 

Staff writer Natalie Brophy can be reached at (315)282-2239 or natalie.brophy@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter @brophy_natalie. 

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City Reporter