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  • Kevin Elliott

Rochester Hills receives clean annual audit

Financial auditors with Plante & Moran on Monday, May 7, gave the city of Rochester Hills an "unmodified opinion" of accounting practices for the 2017 fiscal year ending December 31, 2017, noting the city is "financially sound."

An unmodified opinion is the highest rating of practices that may be given in an annual audit of municipal accounting, meaning that processes and accounts are properly stated and done to the highest level of assurance.

The rating is the latest in a series of accolades lauded on the city by auditors in recent years.

"It's a welcome change to be in a community where we can share good news," said Lisa Manetta, with Plante & Moran, who said the city is within the top fice percent in terms of financial soundness among cities of similar size in southeast Michigan.

"It's a testament to the city councils, present and past, as well as the administration," Manetta said.

The city's revenues for 2017 were $61.8 million, up from $55.8 million in 2016 and expenditures totaled $56.1 million, up from $55 million the previous year. While expenditures are rising annually, recurring revenues consistently outpace costs and have resulted in the structural surplus resulting in a $77.2 million fund balance at the end of 2017.

Property taxes have continued to climb since 2014, accounting for the largest share of revenue sources for the city, totaling $31.4 million in 2017. State shared revenue of $13.8 million, service charges of $8.7 million, licenses and fines of $3.9 million, interest, $1.9 million, and other revenue worth $1.7 million accounted for all revenue sources in 2017.

Public safety costs of $21 million, capital outlay at $12.3 million, public works and streets for $7.4 million, general government costs of $7 million, recreation and culture worth $4.9 million), debt service of $2.5 million and community and economic development, $825,000 accounted for the general government expenditures in 2017.

Chrystal Simpson, with Plante & Moran, noted the continual rise in property tax revenue and said many other municipalities are still trying to level out property taxes.

City council President Mark Tisdel displayed a photo of the city's annual finance awards on display at city hall and commended city staff.

"We have an expectation of excellence and there's a culture in the finance department that delivers that every year," Tisdel said.

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