City Council gets encouraging report during audit report for the 2016-17 fiscal year
By Crystal Havner
Special to the Sun-Gazette
FARMERSVILLE – The City of Farmersville’s finances have come a long way in recent years. That was according to Fausto Hinojosa, CPA from Price, Paige and Company, who presented the councilmembers with the 2016-17 fiscal year audit at the March 12 City Council meeting.
“There have been a lot of good decisions over time to get the city in the position it is in now,” said Hinojosa. “We found no fraud and the city is compliant. You are miles and miles away from where you were years ago.”
The audit, an important for keeping the City compliant with State and Federal agencies, was welcome news from the council.
Mayor Paul Boyer added, “This is great news and I just want to acknowledge all the hard work of the people in the finance department that worked on this.”
Farmersville ended the 2016-17 FY with an additional $3 million, most of which was reimbursements for project costs in previous fiscal years. Overall revenue positions were an $8.5 million net improvement but expenses and revenues were about the same for the year. The General Fund, all of the city’s unrestricted revenue, finished the year $65,000 over expenses. About $3 million of the $8.5 million is street construction and maintenance money earmarked for projects but has yet to be spent. Sewer rate increases generated an additional $348,000 for the city. This was the last year of a five-year ratcheting of the sewer rate to fund a needed expansion of the wastewater treatment facility.
Most revenue streams for the city decreased last year but property tax saw a steady increase of 3% and sales tax jumped significantly by 18% due to spikes in gas prices. That should remain steady or increase as the city will begin collecting money for Measure P beginning April 1.
In Other News:
The council also discussed the issue of street vendors that pop up on holidays. Local business owners have complained that these business take away from their permanent businesses that look to the holidays to help reach profitability by the end of the year. One example is Valentine’s Day when vendors show up all over town and local flower shops, who depend on these holidays to be profitable, lose revenue.
These vendors make agreements with established businesses to have the sidewalk sales on the holidays. They pay a small fee to the city for a permit and then can legally sale products.
Council member Rosa Vasquez, who is a local business owner agreed.
“I know these vendors are just trying to make a living and I respect that,” she said, “But as a business owner I pay a lot of taxes. These pop up vendors do not pay those. We need to do what’s best for the business owners to keep them here in town.”
Boyer said, “I noticed a local tire shop selling flowers, balloons and gifts. I think one solution may be to allow a business to only have a sidewalk sale for items they sale in their actual business.”
The council will be discussing the matter further before making a decision and is asking the public for their opinions on the matter.
Fire Chief John Crivello announced that Matt Epstein, Maria Rodriguez and Maria Vasquez were promoted to the position of Fire Engineer.
“These three all work hard and I am honored to have them in the department,” said Crivello. “They go above and beyond to help keep the public safe.”
The council appointed Betina Ashoori City Clerk. Ashoori will then appoint financial analyst Rochelle Giovanni as Deputy City Clerk. Giovanni is present and does the minuets for the city council meetings.