The Town of Braselton ended FY2011 in the red by nearly half-million dollars in its general fund, according to the recently released audit.
Although the town took in more money than it had originally budgeted, it also spent more in just about every department.
At the end of the year, the town’s general fund had gone into the red by $485,800, meaning the city had to draw down its reserves to make up the shortfall. At the end of FY2011, Braselton had a reserve fund balance of $3.6 million.
While that is large compared to the town’s $4 million in general fund spending last year, not all of that is in cash. According to the town’s balance sheet, the city only had $227,800 in unassigned cash.
The town’s original general fund budgeted revenues for the year was set at $2.7 million, but the city actually took in $3.2 million.
Although the town’s projected tax revenues were considerably less than anticipated by around $370,000, and the city’s licenses and permit income was under the anticipated amount by $129,000, those shortages were more than made up for by a huge jump in city fines and forfeiture income. The town had originally budgeted $350,000 from fine income, but actually took in nearly $1.3 million.
But while the town used fines to make up for other revenue shortages, that was not enough to cover the extra spending the city took on. While the city took in over $932,000 more in fines, the town’s police department spent $566,000 more than originally budgeted.
In addition, most other city departments were over budget in spending also. The only city department that came in under budget was planning and development. Spending on economic development was also under budget.
Helping the town weather that financial shortfall was an uptick in the city’s hotel tax income, which was more than double what the town had anticipated. The town transferred $370,600 from its hotel tax fund into the general fund to help offset some of the shortfall.
Another reason there was a significant difference in the budget-to-actual comparison is that the city didn’t originally budget its debt service payments until later in the year.
WATER AND SEWER
Although the city’s water and sewer fund made an operating profit in FY2011 of $469,600, that was not enough to cover the fund’s interest expense on its debt.
The town’s water and sewer revenues for the year were $5.13 million and its operating expenses were $4.66 million.
But the interest on debt was another $1.3 million, forcing the town to draw on its reserves. The town’s water and sewer fund only had $43,000 in unrestricted cash at the end of the year, but it did have a huge amount of receivables of $1.02 million. That, however, is somewhat offset by its liabilities, including $322,300 in accounts payable.