Annual audit results presented this week

Vicky O. Misa
The Shawnee News-Star
Shawnee City Hall.

This week Shawnee city commissioners heard the results of the city's annual audit findings.

In the latest Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, Assistant City Manager Ashley Neel said results turned out well.

“We received an unmodified opinion,” she said. “This means that our financial statements conformed with U.S. GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles), and that they were free of material misstatements.”

The city's Single Audit, which covers its federal programs, also received a clean bill of health, she said.

“We complied with all federal grant requirements in our major federal grant program; this time around it was the coronavirus relief fund, or CARES money,” she said.

There was one compliance matter, she said.

“They found that in the general government and cultural and recreation categories actually exceeded our budget,” Neel said. “To a large extent, this was when they converted the statements from cash into accrual, then it kicked a couple categories over budget.”

This is something very hard to budget for, she explained.

“It was a very small amount — less than $100,000,” she said. “We are hoping to get this taken care of with Open.gov, with doing some changes in how we're doing internal things so that goes away.”

The good news, she said, is that last year the city had two findings — it had this finding, and one that found the city was negative in three funds.

“This year, that went away,” she said. “That has been a longstanding finding — I found that all the way back into 2015, so we were finally able to get that one cleared up and we hope to get (the current) one cleared up next year.”

Neel said the city's net position increased 2.7 percent over last year.

“It is a slowdown from the change from 2018 to 2019, but it is an improvement,” she said. “A big part of this was the CARES money, and on the spending side there was also the investment into the Kickapoo expansion.”

Revenues came in over budget, she said.

Expenditures came in under budget for the second year in a row, she said, so the city saw a change in fund balance increase of 7 percent.

“It is actually a City Commission policy that we keep a 10-percent minimum liquid fund balance reserve in the General Fund,” she said. “In 2018, we had 1.4 percent reserved; this year we had 8.8 percent reserved.”

Sales tax and use tax have been pretty stable, Neel said.

“It sits between 80 and 90 percent,” she said. “It is our largest revenue source.”

Retail and accommodations are the largest contributors currently to the city's sales tax, she said, followed by wholesale trades and utilities, information and others like manufacturing and real estate.

Principal employers in the area have not changed much since 2019, Neel said. Citizen Potawatomi Nation (CPN) remains the area's largest employer, followed by Georg Fischer and SSM Health.

“What has changed is our unemployment rate,” she said. “In June 2019 it was 3.8 percent, but in June 2020 it was 7.1.”

Right now, Neel estimates the city is sitting around 5 percent, so it is improving, she said.

For story ideas, questions or concerns, reporter Vicky O. Misa can be reached at vicky.misa@news-star.com.