Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Wed, Aug. 05

City finances are looking good

"Overall, the first quarter of 2005/06 appears to be right on target," said City of Winslow Finance Director Regina Reffner. "The City has expended 18 percent of its budgeted expenditures while 40 percent of estimated revenues have been received."

Reffner explained that the city closed the month of September with $16.8 million in cash and investments, which she said, represented $4.7 million in restricted funds and $12.1 million in regular cash and investments.

The citywide year-to-date revenues are at $11.2 million, Reffner said.

"General fund revenues are up $380,000 over last fiscal year," she noted. "City sales tax is up $61,000, state income tax is up $30,000, permits are up $16,000, grants are up $177,000 from the TEA-21 grant, and land sales are up $96,000. Highway User Revenue Funds (HURF) fees are up $15,000, with the rest of the HURF increase attributable to the $8,625,000 received from ADOT."

Reffner explained that the seasonal water rates have saved 134 million gallons of water over the past five summers. The rates were implemented in 2001 to encourage water conservation.

"During this same time period, the city recorded a combined net increase in revenue, from the seasonal rates of $50,000, or an average annual increase of 0.4 percent," she said. The finance director explained that citywide year-to-date expenditures are at $4.2 million, and that "general fund expenditures are up 27 percent, or $452,000."

"The most obvious general fund increase is the $828,000 paid out this first quarter of fiscal year 2005/06 compared to the $300,000 expensed the first quarter of last year for the Route 66 Renaissance construction project," she continued.

The water fund expenditures are up 59 percent. Reffner said this was because of repairs to Well No. 4, which cost $49,000, and the purchase of a new patch truck for $58,000. She added that an additional capital lease payment of $27,500 was also a cause.

"We spent $493,000 on the Winslow Heights project and $18,000 on new mowers for the Roadside Maintenance Division, and $41,500 was spent from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) as the Pope/Donnelly sidewalk project got underway," she said.

"We invested $100,000 in the WIFA loan repayment account and $200,000 into general fund investments," said Reffner. "We liquidated another $600,000 from regular HURF to pay for the chip seal and Winslow Heights projects, and $200,000 from the Turnback funds for a portion of the Mike's Pike project."

The finance director continued, noting that "the general fund appears to be overspending its budget, but in fact this is simply a result of the large expense associated with the near completion of the Mike's Pike project. Regular HURF funds are quickly being depleted with so many large projects underway in the first quarter."

She said the water fund is experiencing budget constraints due to repairing Well No. 4 and then Well No. 2, for a combined expense of $100,000.

"We will continue to closely monitor the revenue and expenditures in these funds," Reffner concluded.

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