The City Council received a presentation on Granbury’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. Granbury’s Director of Finance Eva Gregory and the CAFR’s auditor from George, Morgan, & Sneed, P.C. presented to the Council and answered questions.
What is a CAFR? The CAFR is an annual report required by state law. The City’s Finance Department publishes the report, showing the financial state of the City and complying with accounting requirements. Every year, the City’s financial records are audited by an independent auditor, then the CAFR is published to provide the City Council, citizens, bondholders, City staff, and other interested parties with detailed information concerning the financial condition and activities of the City government.
The CAFR is a comprehensive document, covering many important aspects of the City’s financial state. At the City Council Meeting, Gregory showcased some of the highlights of the City’s strong financial growth from the CAFR:
- Fund Balance – The fund balance, which is the difference between the City’s assets and liabilities, is a good indicator of the financial position of a city. It is essential that the City maintains adequate levels of fund balance to mitigate current and future economic uncertainties, such as revenue shortfalls or unanticipated expenditures, in order to ensure stable tax rates for the citizens of Granbury.
As of September 30, 2018, the City had 7.7 million dollars in unassigned fund balance for the General Fund and 7.8 million dollars in unrestricted fund balance in the Utility Fund. This means that in the event of an economic hardship, such as a natural disaster or economic recession, the City will be able to continue operations at the same level it currently does without having to cut services. A strong fund balance also means that the City will receive a better bond rating, which is important to qualify for lower interest loans when taking on debt for large projects. This equates to savings for the taxpayers.
- Ad Valorem Valuation (Property Valuation) Growth – Property valuations have been steadily growing in Granbury, averaging five percent growth each year over the past six years. The City’s property tax rate has stayed under 40 cents per 100 dollar valuation since 2012.
- Sales Tax – Granbury’s economic environment and sales tax base are steadily growing. Sales tax is the largest revenue source for the City’s General Fund budget, and collections are continuing to increase each year. In fiscal year 2017-18, the City collected 8.6 million dollars in sales tax, a nine percent increase over the previous year.
- Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) Collections – HOT collections remained stable in fiscal year 2017-18, after steadily increasing over the previous five years.
- Combined Debt – Since 2014, City-wide debt has increased by 35 million dollars, with an additional 48 million dollars to be added in this current fiscal year. The increased debt is due to the rise in the needs of Granbury’s growing population. The City Council has invested in projects that help sustain growth as well as projects that replace aging infrastructure. The City has issued debt for large projects such as Phase I of the new water treatment plant, Phase II of the water treatment plant, water distribution system improvements, an advanced water meter system, and wastewater treatment system improvements.
For 17 consecutive years the City of Granbury has received the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Reporting. The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment. The CAFRs were judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure.” The 2017-18 CAFR has not yet been judged.
To read the full CAFR, visit www.granbury.org/financialtransparency. The watch the presentation to the City Council on the CAFR on March 5, click here.
The Finance Department also launched a financial transparency platform to further increase its effectiveness and accountability and earn greater public trust in 2018. OpenGov, which can be accessed at www.granbury.org/opengov, updates daily with the City’s financial information. Granbury’s citizens, Councilmembers, staff, and customers can all go online 24/7 from any device and see where tax dollars are being spent.
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