LELAND — Leland’s financial bill of health is both “clean” and “strong,” according to a town release about its most recent audit.
The audit, months behind schedule because of Hurricane Florence, was presented to Leland’s Audit Committee on Dec. 12 and released to the public on Dec. 21.
Covering the fiscal year between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018, the audit was conducted by Thompson, Price, Scott, Adams & Co, P.A.
Among the audit’s highlights, Leland increased its general fund cash balances by over $4.2 million compared to last fiscal year, to reach $13.5 million.
In 2017, the town increased its tax rate from $0.1833 to $0.21, a $.0267 increase. With a property tax rate currently at $0.21 per $100 valuation of taxable property, the audit states the town’s property tax rate will remain the same through June 30, 2019. However, the town recently sent out a survey, asking residents about whether they would be in favor of a tax increase to fund future services for the next budget cycle.
Collections on taxes owed to the town increased, recovering just 0.6 percent shy of 100 percent of all taxes due.
This fiscal year, the town nearly doubled its debt. Adding on $6 million to fund street and sewer projects, the town’s total debt is over $14 million. According to the audit, Leland has the wiggle room to take on $167 million more in debt to remain within a debt margin in compliance with North Carolina state law.
Leland’s total net position increased by $4 million, with the largest portion reflecting capital assets that won’t be immediately liquified. These assets include machinery, land, buildings, and equipment.
In total, the town’s total fund balance makes up 87 percent of general fund expenditures.
Read the full audit online here.
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