April 07, 2020

Manager happy to tell council Fort Kent’s finances healthy> Reserve accounts reap benefits; unexpected expenses noted

FORT KENT — Town Manager Don Guimond was in an upbeat mood Monday night because he could report to his Town Council that, despite a trying year, the town was operating in the black.

The figures were so good that the Town Council approved the transfer of $48,140 to five municipal reserve accounts. After those transfers, the town’s fund balance was reported to be $742,603.

The year-end fund balance was $112,984 higher than the 1996 year-end fund balance of $629,619.

The fund balance is the amount of money the town has left over after all bills are paid, carry-overs to the coming year are determined, and reserve accounts for capital expenditures are funded.

“All in all, we’ve had a healthy year,” Guimond said. “That, despite problems. It has not been a fun year.”

Guimond said the year-end report was accomplished despite some unbudgeted expenses, such as in determining how much money was missing from town coffers.

An auditor found the missing money after a special audit which was finished in July. The town was told that more than $500,000 was missing from excise tax collections.

Reserve accounts which received unexpended money Monday night included the administration account, the Police Department, public works, Fire Department, and the recreation and parks department.

The administration account received $6,658 to increase its equipment reserve account to $16,102. Guimond said the office will need a photocopier in the coming months, and the reserve will ensure money is available.

The public works capital equipment reserve was increased to $54,797 with $9,827 left unexpended in its budget. The money will be used in the future to purchase a $70,000 snow blower for the highway department.

The public works department also has a reserve account for the construction of a sand-salt storage building. No money was added to the account, which holds $42,070.

The Police Department’s cruiser reserve account grew to $29,683 with a deposit of $9,148 from unexpended funds and miscellaneous collections. The department has a second reserve fund, for communications equipment, which holds $9,082.

A firetruck reserve account increased by $6,150 in surplus money to $124,686. The Fire Department also has $4,261 in a clothing reserve account.

The recreation and parks department’s $24 reserve account jumped with $16,358 in unexpended money. Much of the recreation money was not spent because of the resignation of the department’s director. The director has yet to be replaced.

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