Township rates A-plus audit

FLINT TWP. — Accountants from Plante-Moran gave the township an unmodified opinion, the highest level of assurance possible, for its annual audit, ending December 31,2017.

Auditors Pamela Hill, Chrystal Simpson and Chris Gilbert presented highlights to the township board covering revenue and expenditures, health care and pension costs and legislative changes that impact the way the records are kept.

Hill said the auditing team spent 375 hours going through the township’s books which were found to be in order. She credited township controller Beth Takacs for her efficient record keeping.

Having separate pension systems for the fire and police departments makes the audit process a bit more complicated, Hill said.

Only one deficiency needed correction the overall audit, she said. That was due to an “unusual and infrequent transaction” last year when the township acquired tax-reverted properties to be held for resale. The township finance department did the appropriate research including consulting Plante-Moran for guidance.

“However, given the difficulty in accounting for the item, ultimately audit adjustments were proposed,” according to the Plante-Moran final report to the township board. The proposed adjustment was approximately $1.4 million to land held for resale and $960,000 for capital assets to properly record the land held and the capital assets. Auditors recommended following similar steps in the future then performing a final independent review to ensure than any unusual transactions are handled properly in the general ledger.

Gilbert presented highlights of township revenues and expenditures. The general fund is in “good health” he said, while explaining a graphic showing a consistent rise from 2014 when revenues were $10,24 million to 2017 when it was reported at $10,388 million.

Property taxes are the biggest revenue source – about 36 percent followed by state and federal resources at 30 percent. Special assessments account for about 15 percent, interest and other sources for 7 percent and fines, fees and licenses for about 5 percent. Gilbert noted that the township only retains about 16 percent of taxes collected with the bulk of it going to the county, local schools and other taxing authorities.

Simpson covered the public safety millage fund balance and the sewer fund reserves.

She also talked about legacy costs which she said is a hot topic at the state level.

The township has an Aa2 which is considered strong. But more attention will be needed for health care and pension funding levels which will require more detailed reporting in the future to comply with changes in state accounting standards.

The township is also looking at ways to manage or reduce future health care costs for its retirees.

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