Knightdale’s annual audit comes back clean

mhankerson@newsobserver.comNovember 26, 2013 

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    To view the full audit report, visit knightdalenc.gov or view it in-person at at the Town’s Clerk Office at Knightdale Town Hall or at East Wake Public Library.

— Knightdale’s annual financial audit came back with the best opinion the town could get, financedirector James Overton told Town Council at last week’s meeting.

Joyce and Company CPA in Cary gave the town an “unqualified opinion,” meaning the audit showed no major problems with the town’s finances.

Each department in the town operated within their indvidual budgets, sales taxes improved which indicate a recovering economy and property taxes were increasing, Overton said.

The town brought in a total of $15,791,698. Grants and property taxes each brought in 34 percent of the revenue.

38 percent of the total revenue went toward public safety and another 21 percent went toward public works.

The town had about $2 million in sales tax revenue, the first time the town has broken the $2 million mark.

Knightdale’s savings accoun also grew during the fiscal year. The town socked away an extra $880,000 over expenses in the most recent fiscal year.

Overton attributed the increase to the growth of the town’s population.

“As our population grows so does our sales tax. ... That tells us the economy is improving,” Overton told town council.

Not adding to town’s debt

The audit highlighted the town’s growth and the debt that came with it.

The town’s total debt increased by $4,032,086 in the last fiscal year.

The town took out a $5 million loan from SunTrust Bank for the construction of Phase One of Knightdale Station Park and renovations to the Public Safety building.

The town also refinanced the loan that helped build the public safety building, reducing the term of the loan from 23 years to 15 years and reducing the interest rate from 4.125 percent to 2.3 percent. It is expected to save the town almost $711,000.

Other major capital projects, like sidewalks and the First Avenue improvements, will be or were funded by various grants.

Overton said the town’s grant activity will continue into next year, which will make sure the town doesn’t add to their debt.

“We won’t be borrowing money next year,” Overton said. “We’ve got enough debt right now.”

Despite the debt increase, the projects funded by that money had a positive effect on the town. The Parks and Recreation Department, for example, saw a 10 percent increase in revenue.

Administrative suggestions

The audit did have some suggestions for the town to help with bookkeeping.

Keith Joyce, of Joyce and Company CPA, told Town Council most of his suggestions had already been done.

Joyce said there was nothing severe about Knightdale’s “deficiencies” – the term the firm uses to address problems found during the audit – but it would be best for the town to address them quickly.

The audit noted some problems with dates on purchases orders and problems with keeping track of grant reimbursements.

The audit reported the town had reviewed its purchase order policy with staff and implemented an internal audit of cash disbursements every month. According to the audit, this has helped staff comply with town policy better over the past few months.

In addition to written recommendations, Joyce told the town council there were a few things that could be done to keep financial records better.

It would be wise to review records periodically, Joyce told the council, as the auditers found one police car on the books that hadn’t been used in the town for a few years. He also said it was important for the town to monitor part-time staff members’ hours.

The full audit is available to the public online and in person.

Hankerson: 919-829-4826; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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