“You stayed on your budget which allowed you to save cash. This is a once in a lifetime position, do not blow it,” said Autumn Williams, CPA, as she presented the latest audit of the Town of Luther for the year that ended June 30, 2018.
The audit report was a far cry from reports in years past, including a scathing 2016 report. The report from 2017, however, reflected a better financial picture.
The current audit showed that the Town ended the year with a surplus of almost $214,000 and only one finding. The finding is the usual scold about having separate persons receive the money, record it and deposit it. “We understand that due to the size of the town and number of personnel, many aspects related to segregation of duties cannot be implemented,” the audit stated. Without internal controls, Williams said the town is subject to embezzlement, and noted that the Town suffered an embezzlement allegation earlier this year.
“While we hate that you have an embezzlement issue, I appreciate that your internal controls found it, and that shows your internal controls are working. Can we strengthen? Yes. Double receipts and issue no more credits without two approvals, and someone on the board should monitor it every single month.”
While the town board was credited with sticking to a budget and careful spending, the Town has continued to receive additional revenues, particularly from sales taxes. Those upticks are credited to major construction of the new BancFirst building, as well as the turnpike construction south of Luther.
The Town collects .03 per dollar in sales taxes and while sales tax collections in 2017 were about $35,000 a month; Luther collected a record $82,681 in August, and has outpaced every other month compared to the previous year. Use taxes, the amount we pay for online purchases, are on the rise as well, with the Town collecting $56,481 in July (the previous July was $1,985).
From the December meeting, a “Profit & Loss Budget Performance” prepared by Trustee Lea Ann Jackson, CPA, shows that the Town is exceeding its budget by nearly $300,000. Trustees voted to move some of the windfall to interest-bearing accounts.
In addition, the Town is collecting more in tickets from the police department. While only $85,000 in revenue was budgeted year-to-date, the Town has collected $124,000 from July to November, according to the P&L.
Auditor Williams credited the Town for its improvement in efficiency and record keeping.
“Don’t blow it,” she re-emphasized. “You are one bad sewer break away from going broke.”
So, the town budgets what the Police will take in for tickets? Do they have a set amount a month they strive for?