City#039;s annual report to be released at end of month

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 14, 2003

The city finance office is wrapping up the time-consuming process of the city's annual report this week.

Finance Director Tom Dankert said the report is waiting for validation from the city's auditor, Larson Allen Weishair & Co., before it can go to the printers, but the bulk of the work is finished.

He expects the final report to be ready May 29 or 30.

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He said there is not anything out of the ordinary this year. The most noticeable thing is an expected 2 percent increase in the general fund balance due to advance adjustments for the upcoming budget crunch. Dankert said city departments have been finding ways to cut back on purchases that had been budgeted to help off-set the short-fall.

Thanks to small cutbacks, a small surplus has been expected and will be used to help the city cope once the final figures come back from the state as to how much Local Government Aid Austin will be receiving.

"Part of that money is what we've used to balance the budget in future years, so that's where the money's essentially going," Dankert said.

The budget presented to citizens at the April ward meetings included those numbers.

After the auditor signs off on the report, it will be printed and sent to the Government Financial Officers' Association. That office has awarded the city with an Excellence in Financial Reporting award every year since 1981 based on an accurate audit and a clear, concise style that is easy for people to read and understand.

Dankert said the award helps the city when it is dealing with bond rating agencies to lower the cost of borrowing money. It shows organizations clearly that the city's finances are handled properly and good decisions have been made.

Work this year was a little more time-consuming for Dankert and his staff because the former senior accountant, Joy Skelton, left her position in January. The city wanted to wait and see if everything could be handled without hiring another person, but the extra duties were too much work for the office to absorb. They are now in the process of searching for a person to fill the position. Three candidates will be interviewed this week.

Matt Merritt can be reached at 434-2214 or by e-mail at