Preliminary figures show $4.7M surplus for city in FY2015

Jeremy M. Lazarus | 3/8/2016, 9:32 p.m.
City Hall could fill a big chunk of a projected $9.6 million deficit for the current fiscal year once outside ...

City Hall could fill a big chunk of a projected $9.6 million deficit for the current fiscal year once outside auditors sign off on the city’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for fiscal year 2015 that ended June 30.

Based on preliminary figures, the city finished fiscal year 2015 with a $4.7 million surplus.

That money is being kept in savings and cannot be touched until the CAFR is finalized — still a distant prospect, it appears.

Once the CAFR is completed, the mayor could request that City Council transfer the surplus to the fiscal year 2016 budget.

The $4.7 million also could be used to boost the amount the city has to spend in the proposed fiscal year 2017 budget the mayor is scheduled to unveil this Friday, March 4. Or the $4.7 million could be left unspent.

Selena Cuffee-Glenn, the city’s chief administrative officer, and her deputy for finance, Lenora Reid, told the City Council Finance Committee on Feb. 18 that the CAFR’s completion is being held up as the city seeks to comply with requests from the outside auditor.

This is the second year in a row that Mayor Dwight C. Jones’ administration has failed to complete the CAFR by the traditional Nov. 30 deadline.

Ms. Cuffee-Glenn said the outside auditor is waiting for three items to close the books on 2015.

First, Ms. Cuffee-Glenn said the auditor has asked the city to go back 10 years on capital projects and provide financial evidence on which projects have been completed and which remain open. The information is needed to justify the city’s valuation of assets and to report depreciation.

The filing of such documents apparently never had been done in a systematic way, creating substantial work for the Finance Department staff.

Next, the auditor wants the city to provide an appraisal of The Diamond baseball stadium, Ms. Cuffee-Glenn said. The city took ownership of The Diamond in 2014, but the home of the Richmond Flying Squirrels had not been properly valued for CAFR purposes.

Finally, both the city and the auditor are awaiting Richmond Public Schools to provide the audit of its books for fiscal year 2014.

Neither Ms. Cuffee-Glenn nor Ms. Reid offered any timetable for completing the CAFR.

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