Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Staff show city finances in 'plain English'


City financial staff presented the Santa Barbara City Council with a fleshed-out financial report of the fiscal year that ended in June at yesterday’s Council meeting, describing it as a comprehensive look at the ebb and flow of city funds.
“It gives a plain English discussion of what is going on financially in the city,” City Accounting Manager Rudy Livingston said.

Included in the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) is the unqualified opinion of an independent accounting firm that audited the city’s financial reports, indicating the fiscal statements present the city’s financial position fairly.
“We’re at the very top in terms of not having reportable problems,” Councilmember Roger Horton said.
Livingston pointed out that no issues of non-compliance or material weaknesses surfaced, although the auditors did point out a few housekeeping items, such as drafting and implementing a citywide fraud policy.
He briefly delved into sections of the CAFR, highlighting a $2.4 million increase in unrestricted net assets in the General Fund and about $84.2 million available in the city’s enterprise funds — a figure that includes reserves.
“While the city is in good overall financial health … we actually used $1.6 million in reserves,” Livingston said, stressing that the Council and staff should remain fiscally cautious and vigilant.
Councilmember Das Williams, describing the CAFR as loaded with “lots of evidence of good fiscal management,” urged members of the public to leaf through the report if interested in the city’s fiscal health.
Copies of the CAFR are available at the Central Library and City Hall, and an electronic version will be available on the city’s website,, by December 1.

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