An independent auditor gave the City of Garden City a clean bill of financial health on Tuesday as part of an annual budget audit presented to city commissioners.

Charles H. Claar Jr., Theresa Dasenbrock and Kristen Sekavec with Lewis, Hooper & Dick, LLC, conducted and presented the audit, which revealed no questionable findings or costs on federal funds and programs for the 2017 fiscal year. The audit also noted no statutory violations.

“That’s always encouraging,” Dasenbrock said.

Of the City’s $79,311,505 total revenue in 2017, 69.87 percent came from taxes, 12.41 percent was from intergovernmental funds and 3.31 percent came from franchise fees. The remaining 14.41 percent was revenue generated through city departments.

Dasenbrock said 2017’s general fund revenue was a $6.8 million increase compared to 2016. The city also had $235,817,677 for deferred outflow of all city funds, which was $8.8 million more than the previous year.

“It was a very busy year for the city; a lot of activity and growth,” she said.

Also in 2017, the city’s general fund balance increased by $107,854 to just more than $7.3 million.

City tax revenue in 2017 was broken down as follows: 74.77 percent from sales tax, 22.43 percent from property taxes, and 2.8 percent from motor vehicle taxes.

General fund expenditures in 2017 totaled $20,852,933. Of that, 44 percent came from police/municipal court, 18 percent from cemetery/parks/zoo and 15 percent from fire. An additional 16 percent came from capital improvements and development/planning/engineering/inspections, and 7 percent came from transfers out, general administration and employee benefits.

“They’re all pretty similar to the previous year,” Dasenbrock said, noting that both.

The city’s outstanding debt for general obligation bonds at the end of 2017 totaled about $28.5 million, down $276,000 from 2016, even after $2.3 million in bonds was issued for various projects in 2017, Dasenbrock said.

The city’s long-term debt decreased by 0.58 percent, or $618,532, during the current fiscal year, according to audit documents. Key factors in the change were the issuance of $4.82 million in general obligation bonds for internal improvements in the governmental and utility funds, offset by payments of $4.93 million in general obligation bonds and about $1.91 million in capital leases.

The auditors compared Garden City to 18 other cities in the state that have populations over 20,000 but under 100,000, with data and information collected from the League of Municipalities in 2017.

In 2017, Garden City had a total of 166 mills in 2017, significantly lower than both Dodge City and Liberal, which had 187 and 186 mills, respectively.

"I think you’re to be commended,” Dasenbrock told commissioners and city staff. “You seem to be doing a good job of keeping off the line, and still being very progressive with the growth we’ve had.”

Other highlights of the audit include:

• The city’s assets exceeded liabilities at the close of the most recent fiscal year by $115,782,885. Of which $22,367,862 may be used to meet the city’s ongoing obligations to citizens and creditors.

• The city’s total net position increased by $8,930,225, which is attributable to intergovernmental revenues received for street projects, improvements, and equipment purchases, as well as changes in pension outflows.

• As of the close of the current fiscal year, the city's governmental funds reported a combined ending balance of $21,175,909, which is a $6,176,297 increase compared to the previous year. The increase is attributable to the expenditures for capital projects during the year for construction of the Central Fire Station, street improvements, and equipment purchases.

• At the end of the current fiscal year,the  unassigned fund balance for the general fund was $7,325.832, or 35 percent of the total general fund expenditures.

Commissioners did not have any discussion on the audit following the presentation and approved it as it was presented.

In other business:

• Commissioners approved a lease agreement between the city and O'Brate Realty, LLC, to construct an aircraft hangar at Garden City Regional Airport. 

O'Brate Realty wants to lease property at the airport to construct the hangar. The tenant is currently going through the permitting process and is responsible for all construction expenses. The hangar will become city property upon completion. The term of the agreement is for 25 years, with the option to extend the lease an additional 10 with negotiated rent. No rent is due for the first 25 years. The tenant is responsible for maintenance, utilities and insurance of the hangar. No revenues or expenditures will occur on the city's behalf for the 25-year agreement, and the city will gain the building as an asset.  

• Mayor Roy Cessna proclaimed July 2, 2018, as Charles H. Claar, Jr. Day in Garden City. Claar has been helping conduct the city's audit since 1976, and is set to retire July 2.

• Blair Loving was appointed to the Lee Richardson Zoo Advisory Board. He will fill a vacated position, which still has two years left on the term.


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