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Birmingham receives clean audit for 2020-2021

By Kevin Elliott

Auditors with Plante Moran on Monday, November 22, presented the Birmingham City Commission with an unmodified statement of the city’s 2020-2021 fiscal year budget, considered the highest form of assurance.

The audit, which covers the fiscal year ending June 30, included an additional single audit of federal grants the city received related to coronavirus relief funds. The city received $1.1 million in federal funds, including about $700,000 related to coronavirus.

Timothy St. Andrew, with Plante Moran, said there were no issues with the general fund audit or the single audit related to federal grants, with both receiving unmodified opinions.

St. Andrew noted several highlights in the audit contributing to the city’s maintenance of its AAA bond rating from Standards and Poors. While the city’s general fund balance decreased about $600,000 from the previous fiscal year, he said it is “still financially sound,” with a current fund balance of $24 million.

“The fund balance still does fall within the city commission’s target policy,” St. Andrew said. “That’s a target range of 70 to 40 percent of annual expenditures.”

He said about $15.8 million from the general fund was invested in the city’s infrastructure, including roads, sidewalks, machinery and equipment. The city also collected about $4.75 million for the city’s parks and recreation bond, most of which is unspent and restricted. The city has also funded 96 percent of its pension system, as of June 30, 2021.

“The pension system was 96 percent funded at year end,” St. Andrew said. “That’s up from 78 percent last year. And the retiree healthcare system is 95 percent funded at year end, and that’s up from 75 percent last year. To have both of these systems 95 percent funded really puts the city in very rare company.”

Spencer Tawa with Plante Moran said taxable values on properties in the city have continued to rise since 2014.

“The city has regained all the taxable value lost during the Great Recession period where taxable values decreased, starting in 2011, and in 2012 and 2013,” Tawa said. “As of 2021, the city’s total taxable value was $2.6 billion. And taxable value is growing at about five to six percent each year for the past five years. This growth is because of the continued redevelopment in the city – that is really keeping the city on a solid financial plate.”

Conversely, the city’s millage rate has decreased, due to the state law. However, Tawa said, the city is still assessing at a rate below that approved by voters and allowed under law.

Commissioners voted unanimously to accept the audit findings, with commissioner Pierre Boutros absent.


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