Auditor happy city has $5.2 million in rainy day fund

LACONIA — Frank Biron of Melanson Heath, the city's independent auditors, told the City Council last night that the city enjoys a sound financial condition at the close of fiscal year 2012, marked by a robust fund balance and good operating results.
The unassigned fund balance, which Biron described as "perhaps the most important number in the report," stands at $5,209,675. He said that bond rating agencies expect municipal fund balances to range between 5 percent and  10 percent of their operating budgets. The city, he said, is at the top of the range is "a strong financial position."
Biron noted that the unassigned fund balance shrunk by $1.1-million between 2011 and 2012, but that capital reserve funds increased by an equal amount. "It's just a shift," he said.
Biron pointed out that the city's liabilities, approximately $32.8-million, of which $3.3-million represents projected costs of benefits to retiring employees, is "relatively very low."
The income statement, Biron said, showed that revenues fell some $406,000 short of appropriations, but departments spent and encumbered about $664,000 less than appropriated, leaving a bent balance of $258,042. "You beat the budget," he said, "which is a very positive result."