Drescher & Malecki call 2018 a good year for town
By David Yarger
The Town of Wheatfield received a boost of financial confidence at the Town Board’s regular meeting Monday night.
Matthew Montalbo, of Drescher & Malecki LLP, the town’s audit service, presented the board positive results for Wheatfield’s Dec. 31 audit.
All in all, each department’s budget saw revenues higher than their expenditures, and each fund balance increased.
The water fund increased $127,000 in fund balance, as revenues totaled just under $1,600,000 and expenditures totaled just over $1,400,000. The revenues were a significant increase from 2017. Last year’s revenues were just over $1,300,000, while expenditures were slightly above $1,200,000.
Since 2014, the water fund has trended upwards in fund balance. In 2014, the total fund balance was under $100,000. Today, it has surpassed $350,000.
“So, a stable condition within the water fund,” Montalbo said.
The sewer fund also witnessed positive financial results.
After expenditures exceeded revenues in 2017, that trend changed. Revenues were around $2,100,000, while expenditures were slightly below $2 million for 2018. It’s the first year since 2016 that revenues surpassed expenditures.
“It’s been a little bit more difficult in the sewer fund with expenditures, for the most part, exceeding revenue, with the exception of 2018. That trend was reversed (with) an increase of actually $96,000 in the sewer fund. So (it was) a good recovery year for the sewer fund,” Montalbo said.
The sewer fund also had an uptick in fund balance. In 2017, the fund balance contribution was between $200,000 and $250,000. For 2018, the sewer fund surpassed $300,000 in fund balance.
Montalbo said the fund balance isn’t quite up to the level it was in 2014, where it exceeded $400,000, but “you can see some stability for the 2018 year.”
For the Highway Department fund, following two straight years where expenditures trumped revenues, the trend was slightly reversed.
Revenues totaled just above $2,400,000, while expenditures were just below that total, an increase of $62,000 for the fund balance, Montalbo said.
“So, again, another major fund where we’re able to generate a positive in 2018. Certainly sales taxes have been favorable, and that’s impacted the highway fund. … The first two quarters of 2019 looks to be continuing that trend,” he added.
Fund balance from the Highway Department underwent a slight increase. In 2017, the amount was just under $800,000, while 2018 witnessed an enhancement over that total.
Lastly, Montalbo presented a positive result for the town’s general fund.
From 2014-17, according to the audit packet, Wheatfield’s expenditures exceeded its revenues. 2018 brought a change to that trend.
“This is an area that, I think, in past meetings we’ve showed some concern,” Montalbo said. “You can see the trend from 2014 to 2017, where that expenditure line is consistently above the revenue. But, that trend, again, in 2018 (resulted in), a positive year.”
He added the year resulted in an increase around $30,000.
Since the total fund balance has consistently decreased since 2014, the total resulted in a slight uptick.
In unassigned fund balance -- money available to spend -- the town increased from $384,669 in 2017, to around $577,698 in 2018.
“It was certainly a good recovery year for the general fund,” Montalbo said. “You’re hoping you maintain those controls over expenditures and that sales taxes stays favorable.”
He added, “When you look at the major funds we’ve discussed, and also all of your operating funds reported an increase in fund balance this year, or a positive year. You don’t always see it – it’s a pretty impressive feat to maintain budget expenditures within a reasonable level and kind of maximize the revenues. So, overall, a positive year for the town, and you’re in a stable condition.”