Auditor tells City Council Apopka has healthy reserves

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At the end of the 2020 fiscal year, the city of Apopka had nearly 33 percent in its General Fund reserves, the city’s auditor said Wednesday, July 7, during a presentation of the audit for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. Apopka is currently in the 2020-2021 fiscal year that started October 1, 2020, and will end on September 30.

Daniel Anderson, of Mauldin & Jenkins in Bradenton, said that as of September 30, 2020, Apopka had just under $15 million in unassigned revenues for the approximately $45-million General Fund, which pays for such items as police and fire services, as well as many functions at City Hall.

Anderson’s statement came after a question from Commissioner Kyle Becker, who asked, “As it relates to other municipalities and government agencies that you service, where do we stand at the highest level? How do we look?”

After telling the City Council that the city had the nearly $15 million in General Fund Reserves as of September 30, 2020, he said that is quite a bit higher than even he thinks cities should have in reserves.

“Right around 33 percent is very strong. I typically like people to be around 20 percent, so when you’re at 33 percent, I think that’s good as well,” Anderson said. “That’s a pretty good ratio of what you’re looking for to make sure that you have the resources that you need until the primary General Fund revenues, which is the property tax revenues, come in in November and December.”

Edward Bass, city administrator, told the City Council that the percentage of General Fund reserves is lower now because some of that money was used for capital projects in the current budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

“Keep in mind there were some capital things that we put on hold, if you remember, because of COVID. That reserve number has some dollars in it that are going to be some of those capital items that we have brought forward. So that 33 percent is probably more like 28 percent or 27 percent because those dollars will come forward and those projects will get done in the current year. Keep in mind that this is a snapshot in time as of 9-30-2020,” Bass said.

Also in his report, Anderson said there were some weaknesses that his company found in the city’s financial dealings, but nothing that would cause alarm.

“In discussions with management, we’re very confident they have plans in place to make sure they’re rectified in the 2020-2021 fiscal year so that they will not be repeat findings when we’re here to present next year,” Anderson said.

He also told the City Council that the city’s three pension plans for police, fire, and general employees are funded anywhere from 80 percent to 85 percent, which is a good level, he said.

“When you’re at 80 percent, with such a long-outlooking liability that you have, I think that you’re meeting the required contributions from the actuary and you are at a pretty healthy level as far as what your fiduciary net position is for the total pension liability. Those seem to be in pretty good health as well,” Anderson said.

Also during the discussion, Mayor Bryan Nelson said the city has reduced its debt by 45 percent. Bass said the city is looking to continue to reduce the amount of debt it has so that it can issue bonds for a new public safety building that would house the police department, fire department administration, and the fire department’s Station 1, as well as the dispatchers and the emergency management offices.

Estimates of cost of the new public safety building have come in at $20 million to $30 million, Bass said.

“We’ve got to get debt down now so we can bond that building,” he said.

“I think, all in all, it’s a good financial position,” Bass said.

“I think you and the staff are to be commended for a good job well done, especially

through all this COVID that we’ve been through. We’re in a good position going forward to do the things you have on your horizon,” he told the City Council.

To learn more about what else happened at the City Council meeting, read the full story beginning on page 1A of the Friday, July 9, issue of The Apopka Chief. 

The Apopka Chief and The Planter are weekly community newspapers, independently owned and family operated, that have served the greater Apopka area in Central Florida since 1923 and 1965 respectively. Subscribe today!