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City's net position up 6 percent from a year ago
by Garrett E. Valenzuela
Dec 11, 2013 | 993 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune file photo -- The City of Sparks' overall net position totaled more than $398 million, an increase of 6.6 percent from the previous year, according to the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report approved by the Sparks City Council on Monday.
Tribune file photo -- The City of Sparks' overall net position totaled more than $398 million, an increase of 6.6 percent from the previous year, according to the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report approved by the Sparks City Council on Monday.
City of Sparks Financial Services Director Jeff Cronk was relieved, to say the least, after presenting the results of the city’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). The report finalized an extensive audit process, accounting for the city’s assets, expenditures and current financial state.

Cronk said having the CAFR approved by the Sparks City Council during Monday’s meeting was “the culmination of a lot of hard work” done by the Financial Services Department. While the entire document consists of several hundred pages, Cronk highlighted a few statistical notes about the city’s overall sum as of June 30.

The biggest number on the CAFR is the net position value of Sparks comprised of the sum of all assets less liabilities, which totaled $398,929,747. That value increased 6.6 percent from the previous fiscal year and Cronk said it was largely due to an increase in capital assets investment of more than $32 million, most notably due to the construction of Veterans Memorial Bridge and the SouthEast Connector.

Total capital assets were recorded at more than $676 million and total liabilities measured more than $278 million. Sparks’ governmental funds combined ending balances, according to Cronk, was about $45 million showing a decrease of 3.7 percent due to investment in “park capital assets.”

Cronk said the General Fund budget is 70 percent made up of consolidated and property taxes, and the revenue brought in through those sources decreased slightly as consolidated tax revenues increased 4.2 percent and property tax revenues decreased 4 percent.

“(Unrestricted) cash and investments of $79,273,839 can cover current liabilities 1.9 times on a government-wide basis,” Cronk said in the report.

Cronk noted some government activity expenses increasing slightly due to various conditions, including general government and public safety functions, worker’s compensation claims liability and police safety functions. Cronk said total government activity expenses were just north of $92 million and business activity expenses posted more than $26 million, which was an increase of about $4 million, due mostly to pipe failure and electrical emergencies at Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility.

Long-term outstanding debt decreased for the City of Sparks by more than $6 million, which Cronk said was attributed to regular debt payments being made.

Cronk and his team have been awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for 32 consecutive years from the Government Finance Officers Association for their submitted CAFRs. The group has also earned the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award three years running from the same agency for its budget document proficiency.

“This report could not have been done without the diligent year-round efforts of the staff of the Financial Services Department and the certified public accounting firm Kafoury, Armstrong & Company,” Cronk said. “We would like to acknowledge their expert support and guidance throughout the year not only to make this report possible, but also to help improve our overall financial stability.”

Kafoury, Armstrong & Company provided guidance to the Financial Services Department for one conflict with Nevada Revised Statutes found in the audit process. The firm cited the city’s financial reporting software, City Works’ Permits Plus, for allowing more access than necessary. The audit review said city employees who processed cash receipts have access rights to change the valuation of a permit.

Additionally, secondary reviews of City of Sparks financial adjustments were being neglected, including general journal entries by Financial Services staff, budgetary balances and dismissal of court fines and fees.

“Unauthorized transactions could occur in the City of Sparks’ financial reporting software and not be detected,” the independent firm wrote in its audit report. “Management should examine its access controls over financial reporting software applications and restrict access only to those individuals responsible for the related function; and implement secondary approval of adjustments/postings in the financial reporting software.”

Cronk said the city is in the process of updating its permit software and it will address internal controls when the new system is being implemented. He added that senior management personnel within the Financial Services Department can review court dismissals and add to the general ledger without secondary review.
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