CAMDEN – The town has received an international award for its 2007 comprehensive annual financial report.
The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada has awarded a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to the town of Camden and its finance director, Carol Sue Greenleaf.
The certificate is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management, auditor Greg Chabot of Runyon, Kersteen & Ouellette told Select Board on Tuesday night.
The audit report was judged by an impartial panel to meet the “high standards of the program,” including demonstrating a constructive “spirit of disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the report, according to a news release from the association’s office in Chicago.
The Certificate of Achievement plaque will be shipped to Greenleaf in about eight weeks, the association letter stated.
“It’s an extremely prestigious award, and I can’t overstate the importance of it,” Chabot told the Select Board. “We’re talking about 10 to 12 communities in Maine that have received that award, including Falmouth, Brunswick, Portland, Lewiston, Auburn, Waldoboro and Saco.”
Turning to the audit, Chabot said the town received an unqualified opinion for the 2007 financial statement, meaning no departures from generally accepted accounting principles.
The audit ended up with two significant deficiencies that the town didn’t have in the past, he said. “It doesn’t mean you did anything different or that we’re recommending that you do anything different. It’s just that the standards say you’re required to report the condition,” he said.
One of the new conditions requires management to review and approve the financial statement so that it becomes management’s financial statement and not the auditor’s.
The other condition is audit adjustment or changes made during the audit, he said.
In a summary of the significant changes in the general fund, the report stated that cash and investments increased from 2006 by $256,004, and outstanding taxes and liens decreased by $46,000, reflecting a slight increase in the collection rate of 95.3 percent in 2007 compared with 94.65 percent in 2006.
Deferred revenue, or taxes unpaid after 60 days, went up from 2006 and 2005. Unpaid taxes more than 60 days old do not count as revenue in the current year.
General fund revenues totaled $15.1 million or about $1,500 less than the amount budgeted.
General fund expenditures totaled $15.4 million, showing a variance from the $16.2 million budgeted.
Property tax collection rates have remained stable from 2000, alternating between 95 percent and 96 percent.
Property tax rates from 2000 to 2007 increased about a point a year from $15.37 per $1,000 in 2000 to $18.62 in 2004. The rate dropped to $11.80 in 2005 owing to a revaluation of the town. In 2006 the rate was $12.25, and in 2007 it was $12.29.
Camden’s undesignated fund balance or surplus has decreased from the prior year, which was a planned reduction. The undesignated fund is currently at 11.39 percent of budget, compared with 13.16 percent in 2006. The town’s policy calls for 16.7 percent of budget, which would be equivalent to a fund balance of $2.6 million, Chabot said.
Under the town’s revenues, 87.5 percent come from property taxes, 5.9 percent from excise taxes, 1.9 percent from charges for services, 1 percent from licenses and permits, 2.8 percent from intergovernmental payments, and 0.9 percent from other.
Under expenditures, the biggest piece of the pie is 54.4 percent going to education, 6.8 percent to Knox County government, 2 percent to Mid Coast Solid Waste Corp., 0.2 percent to contingency, 3.4 percent to capital improvements, less than 1 percent to transfers, 8.1 percent to general government, 10.3 percent to public safety, 6.7 percent for highways, streets and bridges, less than 1 percent for health and welfare, 5.1 percent for leisure, and 2.6 percent for debt service.