December 13, 2019

Auditors give praise to Bangor

BANGOR — City officials seemed pleased Monday with the report card issued by their outside auditor.

Kathy Tyson and Roger LeBreux of the Portland firm of Runyon, Kersteen and Ouellette told councilors on the finance committee that it found “no material weaknesses” in Bangor’s financial records for 1997-1998.

There had been one such weakness reported for the previous year concerning some accounting practices in the Bangor School Department, but that was corrected.

“Reportable conditions” had also declined in number, from two last year to one this year. That is the city’s practice of combining its sewer bills with the water district’s bills.

The Bangor Water District is not a city department, the firm pointed out in its management letter. “The incompatibility of systems between the sewer utility and the rest of city government makes timely tracking of sewer utility performance difficult,” the letter said.

Finance Director Ron Heller said the city would continue to work on the issue, but that the city continues to see the relationship as one that saves customers money.

“Other comments” in the audit’s management letter also declined, from 23 last year to eight this year. LeBreux said that some of these would be gone by next year with changes such as the full implementation of new computer software for some financial transactions.

One of the comments urged the city to work on Year 2000 compliance for its computer systems, and to implement procedures to ensure the accuracy of information it receives from vendors and others who do business with the city.

City Manager Edward Barrett told the committee that Bangor has been working diligently on the issue.

City Councilor Michael Crowley said he was interested to know what the Y2K-compliance process was going to cost the taxpayers.

Many concerns will be taken care of by new equipment and automation systems the city already was installing, Barrett said. In other cases, he said, there would be some “equipment upgrades,” with some of those as simple as “replacing them with $35 chips.”

Altogether, he said, he expected the city to spend “in the $50,000 to $100,000 range” to make the city Y2K-compliant, not including anything the airport might need in that regard.

Bangor International Airport is an enterprise fund that pays its own expenses through revenues.

Tyson praised the city for its work in keeping its financial records in order, and pointed out that it was one of only five Maine entities to earn an award last year for its CAFR — the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

LeBreux reviewed some of the specifics of the city’s financial statement, noting that Bangor’s cash and investments had increased this past year, while outstanding taxes and liens had decreased.

The undesignated fund balance increased by almost $300,000 to $3.94 million. The city’s goal is to keep the balance at about 7 1/2 percent of the annual budget, Heller said, and currently it’s at almost 7 percent.

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