In Thursday's edition of The Sumter Item, it was incorrectly reported that the City of Sumter ended its 2017-18 fiscal year with a $15.9 million deficit. Thursday’s article has been retracted in place of this article.
According to the official audit, the city ended the year with a general fund balance of nearly $20 million.
According to the audit — conducted by Sheheen Hancock & Godwin LLP, the city’s external CPA firm — the city's fund balance at the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2018, was $19,849,758, about $4.9 million less than its fund balance at the start of the fiscal year, which was $24,780,725.
With non-major governmental funds of $1.4 million, the city’s total governmental funds are $21,213,376, a $6.1 million decrease in comparison with the prior year.
"The City of Sumter has a very healthy unassigned reserve, your finances are well-controlled, and you are spending wisely," Marc Wood, with the Camden-based CPA firm, said during a special-called Sumter City Council meeting on Feb. 11 where the external audit report was presented to council and city officials.
The previous article reported the city's general fund revenues were $42,993,871 and general fund expenditures were $58,931,899. Those numbers are correct. However, it was incorrectly concluded that the $15,938,028 difference was a deficit with which the city ended.
Other financing sources included in the audit detail $11 million in funding from other sources such as capital asset sales, the issuance of bonds and proceeds from capital leases, totaling a $4.9 million net decrease in the ending fund balance. Taking into account the fact that the fund balance started the year off with $24.7 million, it ended the year at $19.8 million.
In addition to its $19.8 million ending fund balance, the city is also credited for ending the year with an unassigned fund balance of $16,135,376 for the general fund, which can be used at the government's discretion.
The CPA firm also highlighted a $4,731,164 increase in the city's net position — the result after the city's liabilities are subtracted from its assets — for a total of $106,311,217. Major assets include downtown streetscape projects, fire station renovations, the construction of the downtown garage, water and sewer line projects and routine replacement of equipment.
Over time, according to the audit, increases or decreases in net position may serve as a useful indicator of whether the financial position of the city is improving or deteriorating.
"The City of Sumter’s finances are being well-controlled, and you are not overspending," Wood said. "We are happy to report that the City of Sumter’s annual audit has been completed, and the city has been presented with the highest unmodified opinion that we can give.”
Editor's note: We apologize for the original error. We incorrectly interpreted the audit in the reporting process and failed to catch the error in the editing phase. We value our readers and strive every day to give them accurate, timely information and appreciate the understanding.
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