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Posted on: January 3, 2022

Another Year, Another Clean Audit Report for the City of Columbia’s 2021 Fiscal Year

City Hall

The City of Columbia is pleased to announce it has received a clean audit with no findings or irregularities reported by Henderson, Hutchinson & McCullough (HHM) for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2021. The FY 2021 audit and financial report was presented at the December 9, 2021 City Council Meeting. After examining the City's financial statements, auditors presented the City’s Annual Comprehensive Financial Report, highlighting the sound financial condition of the City and giving the City an outstanding report for FY 2021.

HHM partner and principal auditor Jason Martin stated, “Columbia stands apart among its peers as a City that is well run financially, demonstrating the highest quality financial reporting that the City Council receives from Management. The City Council should be commended for their attention to the City’s budget and finances throughout the fiscal year resulting in another strong audit and financial report.” Martin went on to say, “Citizens and officials should know that Management’s leadership, staff’s commitment to excellence and highly qualified finance personnel all ensure the City’s financial performance.”                                                                                                                                                                                       

In FY 2021, General Fund revenue increased $5.2 million with tax revenue notable as the number one source of General Fund revenue. Other General Fund revenue sources that increased during the year include building permit revenue (44.5%), intergovernmental revenue - which includes grants and other state and federal assistance (23.6%), and investment program revenue (16%). Total actual General Fund expenditures decreased by 2.1% in FY 2021. Public Safety (Columbia Police Department and Columbia Fire & Rescue Department) was the largest area of General Fund expenditures (56.7%). Total actual General Fund expenditures were 12% less than budgeted expenditures, as the City operated to stay within budgeted revenues.

 Other vital financial highlights include the City’s general obligation bond rating, which speaks to the City's solid financial health. The City’s general obligation bond rating remains unchanged with a Standard & Poor's (S&P) AA+ rating, the second-highest rating available from the rating agency. A second ratings agency, Moody’s Analytics, previously rated the City Aa2, a similar rating to that of S&P. The City’s total debt decreased by $4.6 million during FY 2021. While no new debt was issued, the General Obligation Bond Series 2011 was refunded during the year, saving taxpayers approximately $0.5 million in debt service payments over the next decade.

 Mayor Chaz Molder stated, “Once again, a clean audit with no findings - the sign of responsible governance, and competent financial leadership inside City Hall. I couldn't be more proud of our team for their good work.”

 State law requires that the City prepare audited financial statements each year. For 22 consecutive years, the City has been awarded the Government Finance Officers Association’s (GFOA) Excellence in Financial Reporting Award in recognition of outstanding financial reporting and high accomplishments in the City’s stewardship of public resources. The City has also received a national award for the third consecutive year for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting (PAFR) from the GFOA. In November 2021, the City was recognized with the GFOA “Triple Crown Medallion” as a result of receiving all three of the GFOA’s national awards for budgeting and financial reporting during FY 2020.

 For further information on the City’s 2021 audit and financial condition, visit https://www.columbiatn.com/Archive.aspx?AMID=42 for the 2021 Popular Annual Report, an easy to read and condensed presentation of the City’s financial status. Visit https://www.columbiatn.com/Archive.aspx?AMID=41 for the Annual Comprehensive Financial Report. 

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