The financial cycle that ended on June 30 of 2021 was apparently a quite good year for the town of Whitsett – at least according to the independent auditor who reviews the town’s books.
Becky Loy with the firm of Cobb, Ezekiel, Loy & Company in Graham delivered this auspicious news to Whitsett’s town council during its most recent monthly meeting on Tuesday.
During her presentation, Loy assured the council that her latest annual review resulted in an “unmodified” opinion of the town’s finances, which she added is the best standard that a local government can get from an audit.
“We didn’t find anything wrong with policies or procedures,” We want to make sure that the right things are in place and that they operate the way you as a council expect them to operate.”
According to Loy’s audit report, the town’s general fund took in $172,851 during the past fiscal year – a slight increase than the $169,830 that its budget had projected but less than the previous year’s revenue of $179,735. The general fund’s outlays nevertheless totaled just $150,927, leaving the town with a surplus of nearly $22,000. As a point of comparison, the same fund had paid out $187,378 a year earlier, leaving the town with a deficit of $7,643.
Loy informed the council that last year’s surplus brought the general fund’s reserves up to $619,000. She added that the fund’s savings include about $19,000 more in “unassigned” revenue than they did a year earlier.
“That means you’re adding to your bottom line,” she said, “and that’s what you want to be able to do.”
Loy observed a similar trend with the town’s public water fund, which posted an operating surplus of about $2,000 and ended the year with about $5,000 more cash on hand than it had at the beginning. She also noted no significant liabilities that could imperial either of the town’s two major funds.
“You don’t have any long-term debt,” the town’s auditor acknowledged. “You don’t have any other long-term obligations; you have no retirement, and you don’t have any health insurance that you’re going to have to pay out over the next few years.”
In spite of this overall clean bill of health, Loy did bring a few minor concerns to the council’s attention.
She admonished its members to try to have at least three different individuals responsible for the town’s finances in order to avoid the potential for accounting irregularities and fraud. She also noted a handful of bookkeeping lapses – a couple of checks without preaudit stamps, a couple of others without approval documentation, and some missing invoices, which she assumed were simply misplaced due to the death of the town’s municipal administrator.
Loy insisted, however, that her review of the town’s books didn’t reveal any serious mishandling of the town’s assets.
“We have no evidence of any misappropriation or wrongdoing of any kind,” she said. “But the suggested way to reduce risk is to have two sets of eyes [looking over transactions].”