Wellington Receives Clean Audit For The Last Fiscal Year

The Village of Wellington received a clean audit for fiscal year 2015, with no comments from its independent auditor. The results of the audit were presented at Tuesday’s meeting of the Wellington Village Council.

The report was the first in several years with no auditor comments.

“We believe that the village’s financial statements are materially stated, so we have a clean opinion this year for the village,” said Racquel McIntosh with Grau & Associates.

McIntosh said the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) had implemented a new standard in the past year for including governmental entities’ pension liabilities that the village had implemented.

The village’s net position as of Sept. 30 was approximately $369 million, of which $173 million was in business-type activities and $196 million in governmental activities. The only change in the statement was the addition of the new GASB standard.

“Under your liabilities, you will see there is a net pension liability of $11.4 million for the village as a whole, and that got split $9.5 million for the governmental activities and approximately $2 million in the business-type activities,” McIntosh said.

The village had a balance of about $65 million in assets, of which $34 million is in the general fund, with a total fund balance of about $51.7 million.

The general fund had a $28 million balance, with an unassigned fund balance of $16.9 million, which the council can use at its discretion.

“That’s a healthy number,” McIntosh said, adding that the rest of the fund balance is either restricted or committed for programs and projects approved by the council.

Revenue for governmental funds was $48 million, with $37 million of that in the general fund, and expenditures of $54.9 million, which shows a shortfall of $11.4 million, but that was due to refinancing of debt and some transfers that actually brought the shortfall down to $4.6 million, she said.

“The village in fiscal year 2015 spent $4.6 million more than it brought in,” she said. “Most of that was through your capital projects, so your capital projects had a shortfall of almost $6.2 million, so that’s where that shortfall came from, and those projects were funded with money you already had on hand.”

Mayor Anne Gerwig explained that a shortfall is not a debt.

Enterprise activities include the water and wastewater utilities system, solid waste and the Lake Wellington Professional Centre.

“In total, all three, you have a total net position of $172.8 million, of which your utility system has $160 million,” she said. “You have approximately $26 million that has been restricted for various projects and annual replacement, and you have $20.5 million that’s unrestricted, so again the council can spend those funds as it deems fit.”

Total revenue brought in by utility operations was about $24 million, which was about $4 million more than it spent. “That $4 million got added to your fund balance for the year,” McIntosh said.

The report had no material weaknesses or significant deficiencies. “During our procedures, we believe that the internal controls are operating as intended and are effective,” she said.

There were no problematic findings for the current year, and all the prior findings have been resolved, she said.

McIntosh thanked Village Manager Paul Schofield, Chief Financial Officer Tanya Quickel and the village’s staff for making the audit process smooth.

“We had no issues with getting the information we needed to perform the audit,” she said. “It got held up because of the [Florida Retirement System] information, and that’s why we’re here this late in the year… The FRS information was really onerous, and it took a lot of time to put together.”

Councilman Michael Napoleone thanked McIntosh for meeting with each council member individually to explain the audit.

Councilman Michael Drahos asked for an explanation of the $4.6 million shortfall.

“The main reason for that was the increase in capital projects?” he asked.

Quickel said that those capital projects include the Wellington Community Center and the Wellington Tennis Center projects.

“We also have a number of road and highway projects this year,” she said. “In the year coming, you will see 120th Avenue coming up as well.”

Drahos asked whether there were potential issues coming up that the council should pay attention to, and McIntosh reiterated a concern that Quickel had pointed out at the agenda review meeting the previous day.

“The way the building fund and the Acme Improvement District fund are structured, right now, whenever you budget, you’re budgeting to spend a part of your reserves, and if you continue to do that, eventually you will run out of money in those funds,” McIntosh said. “Going forward, I think strategically the decision would need to be made as to how to plan on making up those monies, or dissolving the fund. There are decisions that would need to get made from a policy standpoint as to how you attack the decrease each year.”

Despite that long-term issue, McIntosh stressed that Wellington’s finances are in a strong position.

“You are very healthy, with very healthy fund balances, very healthy cash and investment,” she said. “In the event that everybody didn’t pay their property tax next year, you could still fund for a full year or more.”

Schofield agreed that the fund balance is good, but much of it is restricted.

“We also have a disaster recovery fund that’s $3 million and that’s in excess to reserves,” Schofield said. “We have done financial projections, and Ms. McIntosh is absolutely correct. At spending patterns and the service delivery model today, we will be out of reserves by 2021. We do know that, and we will give you an amended service delivery model.”

He noted that the council had a similar discussion in 2008 that the reserve fund would be out of money by 2016 if it didn’t change its service delivery model.

“The council then, as I expect this council will, looked at that service delivery model,” Schofield said. “We will make the necessary adjustments to stay within our financial limits.”