BRISTOL – The city has ended the 2019-20 fiscal year with an approximately $7.7 million surplus.
Comptroller Diane Waldron gave an overview of the financial picture at the October joint board meeting of the City Council and Board of Finance.
“The majority of the surplus was due to $4 million in Municipal Grants in Aid funds received and appropriated at the end of the year for major road improvements but that remained unspent at June 30,” reported Waldron.
June 30 was the last day of the fiscal year.
“Other contributing factors were higher than anticipated collections on the city’s Motor Vehicle Supplemental bills, building permit revenues, conveyance fees, police private duty, and investment income,” she said.
“The city also exceeded its estimate on tax collections and ended the fiscal year with a 99% tax collection rate vs. the 98.5% that was estimated when setting the FY2020 budget,” she added.
“Significant savings in expenditures was also a driving factor,” said John Smith, finance board chairman.
“The Board of Education had approximately $1.7 million in unspent funds, primarily as a result of the closing the schools for covid-19,” Smith said. “The city also realized savings due to a very light winter, cancellation of recreation programs due to covid-19 and unspent contractual obligation and contingency funds.”
“These positive results afforded the city the opportunity to replenish certain reserve funds,” said Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu.
Approximately $7.3 million of the surplus and fund balance reserves were transferred to the Road Improvements Fund, the Mill Rate Stabilization Reserve, the Equipment Building Sinking Fund, and the Health Benefits Fund, “which puts us in a very good position as we gear up for next year’s budget,” she said.
In addition, Zoppo-Sassu said, “the Board of Education will carry over its surplus of $1.3 million, with $420,000 of it used to cover the school lunch deficit that occurred in the past year.”
The amount carried over by the school board is what is allowed by state statutes, she said.
Even with all the transfers, the mayor said the city will continue to maintain a 14.5% undesignated fund balance reserve, well within the finance board’s policy of 12% to 15%.
“These are very good results for the fiscal year in light of all of the challenges the pandemic put on our budgets,” Waldron said.
“These results do not factor in any anticipated FEMA funding for costs incurred for covid-19. The city is still waiting on approval for those costs. The fact that the city had a surplus and has judiciously allocated these funds for future reserves will help offset future budget challenges,” she added.
Waldron also reported that the city has again received the Government Finance Officers’ Association Award for Excellence in Financial Reporting for its June 30, 2019 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, as well as for its June 30, 2019 Popular Annual Financial Report.
She gave special recognition to Robin Manuele, assistant comptroller, and Skip Gillis, senior accountant, for their work on the reports, noting that this is the 33rd and 19th consecutive year the city has received these awards, respectively.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.