The City of Allentown’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for Calendar Year 2015 is available to the public.
The CAFR is required annually of state and local governments throughout the United States by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) and is the functional equivalent of a Form 10-K for business entities, and the city again released the CAFR within the timeliness requirements of Pennsylvania law. Maher Duessel CPA, a Pennsylvania accounting firm selected by City Council as the independent auditor of the city’s financial statements, approved the report’s release.
Maher Duessel issued a “clean” opinion on the reliability of the city’s financial statements. This declaration provides reasonable assurance to the public that the financial information contained within the CAFR represents accurately the city’s current financial condition.
The General Fund balance for the city declined as expected during 2015. After accounting for the scheduled repayment of pension obligation bonds, however, the effective city operating deficit for 2015 was less than $650,000, more than $3 million better than the original operating forecast for 2015. The 2016 city operating budget incorporates a small surplus of revenue over anticipated expenditures.
“I’m pleased that we are able to manage our budget in such a way that our actual operating expenses continually come in under budget,” said Mayor Ed Pawlowski. “These results are indicative of the very hard work and effort put in by administrators and rank and file employees to keep cost growth in check as well as the effective and consistent monitoring efforts of each side of the ledger by the Administration, City Council and the City Controller.”
GASB’s mandated inclusion of statements reflecting the long-term cost of pension liabilities takes effect with the 2015 CAFR, providing needed clarity and transparency to citizens about the full effect of these obligations and resulting in an apparent sharp downward turn in the city’s net position. After restating the balances at the start of 2015 to account for these new requirements, however, the city’s net position for governmental activities actually improved by more than $2 million during 2015.
“I thank Maher Duessel for confirming independently the city’s fiscal stability during 2015, as department heads and bureau managers constrained spending while maintaining effective public services to Allentown citizens,” said Finance Director Brent Hartzell. “We now can quantify clearly the long-term effect of pension obligations on the city’s finances as well. I applaud Debi Bowman, the city treasurer and deputy finance director, and her team for ensuring the reliability of the financial information presented, and I also applaud many city employees across numerous departments that contributed to the report’s timely completion.”
The city’s 2015 CAFR and the Single Audit Report are available on the City of Allentown website at www.allentownpa.gov. The CAFR will be presented to City Council on Wednesday, July 20 at 5:30pm.