WOODSTOCK — The city of Woodstock has received a positive audit, with figures showing healthy fund balances, increased revenues and reduced debt for fiscal year 2019.

Auditor Tammy Galvis of Nichols, Cauley & Associates reported to the City Council on Monday that the city received a clean, or unmodified opinion in the audit, which has been submitted to the state government and to Government Finance Officers Association.

For the fiscal year ending June 30, Woodstock saw an increase in general fund revenues of $2.1 million and reduced expenses of about $400,000. The largest share of its over $21 million in revenues came from property taxes, about $9.9 million. The city ended the fiscal year with $6.7 million in its general fund, $6.2 million of which is unrestricted and represents nearly four months in reserves.

“The Government Finance Officers Association will tell you every year, they recommend you have at least two months of reserves set aside, and you have twice that,” Galvis said.

The city’s revenue increases came from increased property values, as well as from licensing and permitting fees from two large new residential developments last year.

The report showed the city is gradually reducing its debt. Debt for governmental activities, including capital projects, is overall down by $2.4 million for 2019: $7.6 million in bonds, $2.5 million in capital lease and $800,000 in notes payable.

For business type activities, such as stormwater and water and sewer, bond debt was $17.1 million, down $1.3 million from the previous year and down over another million from 2017. Business capital lease debt has stayed around $1 million, slightly down from last year.

An additional audit was conducted which examined $600,000 of a total $800,000 of federal money received through the Georgia Department of Transportation, which found no material weaknesses, Galvis said.

Also at the meeting, the council:

♦ Saw the swearing-in of Planning Commissioner Brandon Williams by City Clerk Rhonda Pezzello;

♦ Heard a presentation on proposed changes to the alcohol code, most of which account for special events in the city;

♦ Formally requested the state Legislature to pass a law that which would establish one-time five-year terms for mayor and council starting in 2021 and 2022, to time municipal elections with the county elections;

♦ Recognized a group of emergency personnel from Cherokee Fire and Emergency Services, Cherokee 911, Woodstock Fire and Woodstock Police for saving the life of an 8-year-old boy; and

♦ Heard a recreation program plan from Parks and Recreation Director Michael Huffstetler, which is required for the agency’s accreditation.

Shannon is a reporter covering education, city governments, crime, features, religion and other local news. She is a graduate of Young Harris College and currently lives in unincorporated Woodstock.

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