By James Hanlon
Leader Staff Writer
Earlier this month, the Village of Oxford received an unmodified opinion in its annual audit of financial statements for the 2019-2020 fiscal year from the Lansing-based firm Maner Costerisan.
Aaron Stevens, a CPA and principal with the firm, presented the audit report. He explained that the purpose of the audit is to express opinions on whether or not the financial statements are fairly presented in accordance with GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles). The purpose of an audit is not to detect fraud or give an opinion on internal controls, though they would be obligated to report fraud if they found it.
The firm gave the village an unmodified opinion, which is “the highest level of assurance that we can provide for a set of financial statements,” Stevens explained. The other options were a qualified opinion or an adverse opinion. Overall, Stevens said it was a “very positive year for the village.”
The village’s general fund ended the previous fiscal year on June 30, 2020 with a general fund balance totaling $618,479. That represents approximately 29 percent of the village’s annual expenditures. Stevens said that the Government Finance Officers Association recommends maintaining a minimum fund balance equal to two months of normal operations (approximately 17 percent). Since the balance is well above that, “the general fund is in sound financial condition.”
The general fund revenues were $2,087,877, which was an increase of about 2.7 percent over 2019 revenues. Total general fund expenditures were $1,818,871, an increase of about 4.2 percent from the previous year. The general fund also transferred $315,423 to the municipal street fund for debt service.
Factoring all that together, the village used $46,417 of its fund balance.
Stevens presented a bar graph showing that the village added to its fund balance in 2016, 2017 and 2018, but used a small amount in 2019 and a little more in 2020. “There’s nothing wrong with using fund balance,” Stevens said. “You just can’t use more than you have.”
A pie chart presented by Stevens showed the village spent 44 percent of its general fund expenditures on public safety, 24 percent on public works, 19 percent on general government, 15 percent transfers to other funds and seven percent “other functions.”
By James Hanlon