OLEAN – The city is on solid financial footing with very few problems. That was the summation of auditor David DiTanna, of Buffamante Whipple Buttafaro, P.C., of Olean, as he addressed the City Council’s Committee of the Whole prior to the regular meeting Tuesday night.
The audit, for the fiscal year ending May 31, 2013, showed a surplus of about $3.2 million, DiTanna said. But that amount is a bit deceiving, he said.
In the 2013 fiscal year, the City of Olean underwent major rebuilding of a section of State Route 417, known as East State Street. The city received funding from state and federal sources, in the amount of $1 million, to aid in the construction of the road. The total project cost $3.7 million.
“Any time you receive a Capital Grant funding project, it falls to the bottom of the balance sheet and looks like a surplus,” DiTanna said. “For the time period covered in the audit, that amount would include about $1 million that came in for the East State Street project.”
It was projects like East State Street that also aided the final outcome of the audit, DiTanna told city aldermen. The completion of infrastructure improvements over the past few years have helped to stabilize the city’s financials since 2009, when the municipality had to issue bonds to make ends meet for annual budgets.
For the fiscal year of 2013, the City of Olean saw an increase of assets, up about $1.6 million to $69.6 million. Revenues for the city rose almost 2 percent over the 2011-12 fiscal year, to $24.89 million, mostly on the back of sales and property tax revenues, DiTanna said. Sales tax alone was up nearly $200,000 for the city.
The city’s water fund revenues experienced a decrease of about $500,000, roughly 2 percent, due to a decrease of use, the auditor said. To balance that loss out, expenditures were down about $570,000, about 16 percent, for the same fiscal year.
A lot of the decrease in the expenditures line has to do with a funds transfer to the East State Street project, to cover water line work that had to be done, DiTanna explained.