Amherst maintains ‘healthy’ financial position

Darrell Cole
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Town accepts audited financial statements

Amherst released its 2012-13 audited financial statements.

AMHERST – Amherst’s finances continue to be in good shape.

“We have generated surpluses in both the water and operating funds and most operating departments were at or near budget,” CAO Greg Herrett said during a special council meeting on Thursday. “The water utility’s financial situation continues to improve and we expect to eliminate the accumulated deficit in the utility within the next couple of years.”

The town’s audited financial statements were prepared by Jorgensen & Bickerton and Gary Bickerton told council the town continues to maintain a healthy financial picture.

The CAO said the town’s long-term debt stands at approximately $6 million and its debt service ratios are at a very healthy level.

The town also has about $3.8 million in reserves.

In the general operating fund, the town generated a surplus of $129,754 that was transferred to the operating reserves as required. The town continues to have a significant surplus of $176,293 in the general operating fund and Herrett said there were no significant changes in the financial position of that fund.

On the capital side, excluding the wastewater treatment plant, the town spent about $3.2 million on capital projects last year that were all financed either directly from operations or by grants or transfers from reserves.

“We did not borrow any money for these projects,” the CAO said.

The general capital fund experienced significant reduction in grant revenue from fiscal 2012. The CAO said this  is because the majority of senior government funding for the downtown projects  and wastewater treatment facility were received in 2012.

Herrett told council that long-term debt in the general capital fund stands at about $5.5 million with the ratio of debt service to own source revenue standing at 6.15 per cent.

“Even when we add another $4 million in debt this year to permanently finance the wastewater treatment facility this ratio is projected to rise to 8.45 per cent, well within the benchmark of 15 per cent,” he said.

The CAO said the financial position of the water utility is continuing to improve as well and the water capital fund continues to maintain a healthy balance of just under $1 million in its depreciation reserve. Long-term debt stands at $550,000.

The town is maintaining a reserve fund balance of just over $2.8 million – including $1.6 million in capital (that includes $550,000 from the insurance settlement for the police department) and $1.2 million in operating reserves.

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

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