Dewey Beach is handling its money well, auditors say.
The town’s audit committee met Aug. 5 to review a final draft of audited financial statements for the fiscal year that ended March 31.
Herb Geary, accountant with TCM Group, the town’s outside auditor, issued an unqualified opinion, meaning the town’s financial statements are sound.
“The town is in good financial condition,” said committee Chairman Larry Silver. He said the Dewey Beach has two major funds: The beach fund, which is reserved for beach replenishment, and the general fund, which is used for day-to-day operations. “Both are in very good shape,” Silver said.
Silver said transfer taxes were higher than budgeted for the year. “But overall, everything was pretty close,” he said. Even legal fees, which are often difficult to limit, remained under control, Silver said. “And I think that’s a credit to Marc Appelbaum and Nancy McCloskey,” he said.
Appelbaum, the town manager, and McCloskey, the town’s finance officer, were hired last year, after Chief Financial Officer Bill Brown resigned in August 2012.
Silver, who has been a certified public accountant for 38 years, said this is his first year as audit committee chairman.
“We decided there was a good reason to change and get a fresh look,” Silver said. Sombar and Company, which the town had hired for past audits, was replaced with TCM Group. Though the fees were slightly higher for TCM, Silver said, the committee was happy with the change. “I think it worked out well,” he said.
In an Aug. 2 letter to Dewey Beach Town Council, Appelbaum said the budget for fiscal year 2013 called for a $5,000 surplus. When he began his duties at town hall, Dewey Beach was $150,000 over budget for the year.
Appelbaum said at that rate the town could have faced a deficit of $300,000 by the end of fiscal year 2013. In June 2012, the budget and finance committee said the town was facing a structural deficit of $400,000 per year.
“I, along with the staff worked hard to achieve better result for the second half of the year than had occurred in the first half of the year,” he said.
Appelbaum said he and town hall employees reined in spending and made an effort to collect revenue that was owed to the town. “I am pleased to report that our hard work and efforts have paid off,” he said.
Dewey Beach ended its fiscal year with a $200,000 surplus, he said.
Appelbaum said the surplus did not include a $480,000 building permit for Dewey Beach Enterprises’ Ruddertowne redevelopment project.
“As to the year that began on April 1, 2013, I am pleased to report that for the first three months we are on budget which also calls for a surplus,” Appelbaum wrote.
At its July 19 meeting, Dewey Beach Town Council tabled a gross receipts tax proposal and instead opted to arrange meetings with the business community to discuss other ways businesses could contribute more money to town operations.
Appelbaum said he looks forward to finding a more fair way to split the burden of town expenses between business owners, property owners and those who rent out their houses.
But, Appelbaum said, “The town’s financially very healthy.”
The audit committee is scheduled to present the audited financial statement to Dewey Beach Town Council at its next meeting at 6 p.m., Friday, Aug. 9, at the life saving station on Dagsworthy Avenue.