The City of Allentown has released to the public its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for calendar year 2018. The document can be accessed on the city’s website at https://www.allentownpa.gov/Finance/Info-Resources/CAFR
Zelenkofske Axelrod, LLC, the accounting firm selected by Allentown City Council to perform this annual financial audit, issued a clean opinion on the city’s financial statements, assuring the public that the financial data presented within the report is in the auditors’ view reliable in all material aspects.
The city’s General Fund attained a $5.6 million surplus of revenues over expenditures during 2018. Constrained expenditures by city departments combined with increased grant revenue, increased license and permit fees, and robust tax collection enabled the city to avoid drawing down cash reserves for the first time in several years. In fact, the General Fund balance at the end of 2018 has increased from $13.3 million to $18.9 million.
Mayor Ray O’Connell said, “I pledged to get a handle on finances and discontinue the practice of drawing down reserves to meet our operating expenses. This CAFR shows that we have done that while improving our overall financial picture.”
“The strong increase in revenues and the outstanding work of city departments in reducing expenditures has improved Allentown’s fiscal position considerably in 2018,” said city Finance Director Brent Hartzell. “We are serious about our efforts to manage taxpayer funds responsibly, and this is very important given the 2019 increase in property taxes our citizens have provided. Expenditures are growing at a faster rate so far in 2019 compared to last year, which we expected, and we will use these funds to cover these costs now and in future years.”
The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report also includes life cycle cost calculations for other post-employment benefits for the first time. In combination with the presentation of life cycle costs for pensions three years ago, the report now gives citizens a transparent understanding of the costs of city benefits over the long term.
The CAFR will be presented to City Council’s Finance Committee on Wednesday, August 28.