The City of Cranston completed the last fiscal year with an approximate $643,000 budget operating surplus. According to a Monday press release, the surplus comprises $443,000 from the city’s …
The City of Cranston completed the last fiscal year with an approximate $643,000 budget operating surplus. According to a Monday press release, the surplus comprises $443,000 from the city’s operating budget and $200,000 from city schools.
“These latest audit results being reported to the City Council and taxpayers are very favorable news in a difficult inflation and recessionary period,” said Hopkins.
The fiscal year ended June 30, 2022, and the Marcum LLP auditing firm presented details to City Council members Monday at their full City Council meeting. By City Charter requirement each year, pursuant to Charter Section 3.21, an auditor is engaged to perform the annual audit for the previous fiscal year.
At Monday’s meeting, council members asked questions of Marcum LLP.
Councilman Robert Ferri inquired why the intergovernmental revenue came in at $1.1 million below what was anticipated. Finance Director Thomas Zidelis said this was caused by certain federal reimbursements that are accounted for in the general fund timing wise; the city will, however, still get the money.
Council President Jessica Marino asked if there was a certain department(s) running $876,000 over budget which was seen in the audit report. Marcum LLP explained that these were departmental revenues made up of a variety of things that collected at the department level.
The mayor added that overseeing effective spending is one of his highest priorities and “demands daily attention and strong leadership to keep the cost of our city operations down for the taxpayers.”
In the release, Hopkins noted that as of June 30, 2022, the city had a fund-balance, commonly referred to as a “rainy-day fund” balance, of approximately $15 million. The “rainy day” fund is an undesignated fund balance for emergency expenditures. This fund balance increased from last year by the city’s operating budget surplus of $443,000.
“We need to be vigilant and continue our efforts to build up the rainy-day fund,” Hopkins said.
He pointed out that, despite challenging budgetary times, the city’s Fitch general obligation bond rating remained at AA+ “with a stable outlook.”
The mayor emphasized that the preparation of next year’s budget for the city will be a challenge. With the start of the new calendar year, he said, the city is picking up the pace of preparations for next year’s budget because it needs to be completed by an April 1, 2023, submission deadline.
“While we all recognize that the local residents have survived a pandemic and are experiencing inflationary economic challenges, city government has not been immune,” Hopkins said. “My primary financial objective is to manage the city’s finances with a dedication to keep the cost of living reasonably affordable.”
He concluded by saying the city and his administration “will continue best practices to wisely invest tax dollars, keep spending in check, protect the rainy-day fund and keep taxes affordable for all residents and families.”
The mayor also expressed his appreciation to Zidelis and City Controller Michael Igoe who served as Acting Finance Director before Zidelis.
“The positive results in the audit are a credit to the entire city work force and finance department members,” Hopkins said.