Union earns clean financial audit, report finds

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The City of Union received a clean bill of health on its annual financial audit, according to a report presented during Monday’s city commission caucus meeting. 

Auditors reviewed expenditures and revenue from the previous year, as well as the segregation of duties to determine any risks or weak points in a government’s money management. They highlight financial changes in recent years and may offer suggestions to mitigate risks. 

John Chamberlin, an accountant with Chamberlin Owen & Co. in Erlanger, told the board of commissioners and Mayor Larry Solomon that Union earned an “unmodified opinion” in its audit for fiscal year 2022, “the highest opinion” that auditors can give. He explained it means no changes need to be made to protect the city’s assets or financial procedures, “which is what you want.” 

Union had $2.18 million in total expenditures and $2.48 million in annual revenue for the last fiscal year. Chamberlin commented that the report shows an increase of $640,000, which he said comes from COVID-19 relief funds granted to local governments across the Commonwealth. 

City Administrator David Plummer told LINK nky in an email the city received approximately $533,370 dollars in funding, “which were to be utilized for efforts fighting coronavirus-related problems. … In the 11th hour, the Department of Treasury put out a ruling which declared that emergency service personnel, fire and police for instance, are thought to be ‘always combating’ the coronavirus with the types of services they naturally provide.”

Due to that rule change, and because the city utilizes Boone County government for emergency services, Union dedicated its COVID-19 relief to Ryle High School, Gray Middle School and Mann Elementary School in the amount of $300,000. The city also issued five rounds of small business grants to local businesses, totaling $250,000, and used $8,000 to purchase personal protective equipment and telecommunication gear in the form of iPads for remote work, Plummer said.

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Chamberlin added that Union is in “a solid position” financially. The Kentucky Department of Revenue recommends three months of “cash on hand” during this time of year as local governments wait for the next round of revenue to come in the fall. Chamberlin said Union has 10 months of money saved, adding that the city showed healthy increases in other categories as well. 

“You have $1.8 million in cash compared to $1.65 (million) last year, so right at a $191,000 increase in cash,” he said. “Total assets of $2.5 million compared to $2.4 (million) last year, so a good increase in total assets as well.” 

As he presented the city’s debt analysis, Chamberlin said Union has “very consistent” liabilities year over year. Other increases noted in the report come from increased investments into road repairs and repaving projects.

Plummer said the 30% increase in public works spending comes from approximately $80,000 added to the budget for those improvements. 

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