City completes Comprehensive Annual Financial Report early, shows nearly $17 million budget surplus

City completes Comprehensive Annual Financial Report early, shows nearly $17 million budget surplus

2017 marks the first time in four years the city has filed the report on time or before the state-imposed deadline. The 2015 and 2016 CAFRs were filed nearly a year and five months late respectively, causing consternation among members of City Council and the public.

Photo: Taber Andrew Bain

Mayor Levar Stoney Monday evening announced Richmond has completed its 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), which is due to the Virginia Auditor of Public Accounts November 30th–that’s right, the city completed its budget early.

2017 marks the first time in four years the city has filed the report on time or before the state-imposed deadline. The 2015 and 2016 CAFRs were filed nearly a year and five months late respectively, causing consternation among members of City Council and the public. Mayor Stoney made a campaign promise and inaugural commitment that the 2017 CAFR would be completed on time, and the commitment was carried through.

The report shows that the city had a $16.9 million surplus for the fiscal year that ended in June of 2017, as first reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

The council has already stashed portions of the surplus in fund reserves for four priorities: $2 million for the city retirement system; $2.4 million for a one-time, 2.5 percent bonus for the city’s general employees; $2 million for road and sidewalk improvement projects; and $1 million for lead abatement and other health and safety projects in Richmond Public Schools.

The remaining $9.5 million reverted to the city’s unassigned fund balance, a sort of savings account that the city doesn’t touch, save for some kind of unforeseen hardship or emergency situation. To use the money this year, the mayor would have to introduce a budget amendment, which the council would have to sign off on.

“Your government is now working better and more efficiently,” Stoney said in a statement. “We made this a top priority this year, and the Finance Department did a tremendous job. I am pleased to provide the state’s Auditor of Public Accounts and our City Council with timely audited financial statements that show Richmond is moving in the right direction.”

The CAFR consists of financial audit statements completed in compliance with the accounting and financial reporting standards established by the US Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).

“The 2017 CAFR shows Richmond now stands squarely on solid financial ground,” said Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Lenora Reid. The 2017 CAFR will be posted on the Finance page of the City’s website, under the Financial Reports section.

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Trevor Dickerson is the co-founder and editor of RVAhub.com, lover of all things Richmond, and a master of karate and friendship for everyone.