Rowland officials pleased with audit

By Bob Shiles -

David Townsend

ROWLAND — Rowland’s town clerk said Tuesday he is happy with his town’s audit for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016.

“This is a really good report,” David Townsend said. “It shows that Rowland is on a solid (financial) foundation.”

John Masters, of S. Preston Douglas & Associates, reviewed the audit with town commissioners Tuesday during their regular monthly meeting. He gave the town high marks for its financial savvy, including its improved rate of tax collection and increased fund balance.

According to the report, Rowland’s total assets exceeded its liabilities at the end of the fiscal year by about $4.1 million. At the same time the town had a total fund balance of $296,032, of which approximately 64 percent, or $190,552, is available for spending at the local government’s discretion.

Masters said that the unappropriated fund balance of $190,552 is approximately 20.7 percent of total general fund expenditures. That compares with a 10.2 percent of total general fund expenditures for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015, he said.

“You are doing something right,” Masters told the commissioners.

Masters praised the town’s property tax collection rate of 91 percent. Rowland’ property tax collection is handled by Robeson County. Vehicle taxes are collected by the state Division of Motor Vehicles.

“That’s impressive,” he said. “I don’t think it has ever been that high.”

However, in a letter to Mayor James A. Hampton Sr., the State and Local Government Finance Division identified three concerns with the town’s financial reports. These included that the audit was not submitted to the state by the due date of Oct. 31; the town’s expenditures exceeded amounts authorized in the budget by about $1,500; and cash, investments, and receivables in the town’s Water and Sewer Fund were less than the current liabilities.

Both Townsend and Masters downplayed the issues raised by the state.

“I think you did a pretty good job when you missed your budget expenditures by only $1,500,” Masters told the commissioners.

In other business, the commissioners were briefly updated on the resources and programs being offered at the town’s public library.

“We are trying to meet the needs of the community,” said Anne Thompson-Ellerbee, the library’s administrator. “… If we don’t have what you are looking for, we will try to help you find it.”

Thompson-Ellerbee said that the library is small, but is well stocked with books and other resources that can help educate and entertain the public.

“We want more people to come out and use the library,” she said. “Our circulation of materials is low and we would like to see our circulation grow.”

David Townsend Townsend

By Bob Shiles

Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.

Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.

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