Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Westland receives unmodified audit report

Westland city officials received the highest available “unmodified opinion” of the annual financial report last week presented by Plante Moran auditors. The audit states that the June 30, 2019 financial statements are fairly presented and accurately reflect the financial position of the city.
Westland increased the general fund rainy day fund balance by approximately $200,000, according to the report and the city also complied with the requirements issued by the State of Michigan and received $1.4 million through the state revenue sharing program.
Cost containment efforts have continued, with nearly all departments coming in under budget for the year, while also showing a decrease in total outstanding bond debt of approximately $2.6 million, according to the audit figures.
“The City of Westland continues to have strong budget process and practices that have led to positive financial results demonstrated in the current year,” commented Alisha Watkins, CPA and Partner at Plante Moran. 
“During the 2018-19 fiscal year, the city was able to reinvest more than $9.6 million on various capital improvements, including water and sewer line repairs and upgrades, various road and park improvements, and new public service equipment and vehicles,” commented Mayor William R. Wild.  “We continue to look ahead in our financial forecasting and make fiscally responsible decisions for our city's residents and businesses.”
In addition, Westland opened a retiree healthcare Trust Fund in 2019 in an effort to begin paying the underfunded portion of the retiree healthcare benefit obligations.  Other components of the city plan for managing the unfunded retiree healthcare obligation in accordance with the Public Act 202 plan have collectively led to a significant decrease in the retiree healthcare benefit obligation and liability, officials noted. 
 “The audit for fiscal year ending June 30, 2019 ended with most departments coming in under budget and the city adding to the surplus in the general fund,” commented Finance Director Steve Smith. “The city also continues to make positive progress on the outstanding legacy costs.   The overall unfunded liability in total for the pension funds and the retiree health care fund (OPEB) was reduced by over $67 million last year.”