During the Jan. 9 Town Council Meeting, KRT (Karp Ronning & Tindol) Certified Public Accountants presented the Financial Statement Audit for the Town of Bluffton. Based upon their independent audit, an unmodified opinion was rendered for the Town’s Financial Statements for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2017.

The “clean” opinion is the most confident response provided by audit firms to users that the financial statements present a fair representation of the entity’s financial position and are free of material misstatements.

The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) includes not only the Independent Auditors’ Report, financial statements, and extensive notes to the financial statements, it also includes the management’s discussion and analysis of the year and a statistical section with schedules showing financial trends, revenue capacity, debt capacity, demographic and economic information and operating information.

Highlights from FY2017 include:

  • Assets of the Town (what we have) exceeded liabilities (what we owe) at the close of the fiscal year by $28 million (net position). This was an increase of $2.5 million over the previous year.
  • The Town’s General Fund (the operating fund of the Town) reported ending fund balance of approximately $15 million, an increase of roughly $1 million over last year. Approximately $10 million is available for spending at the Town’s discretion (unassigned fund balance).
  • The Town decreased total debt by $1 million in fiscal year 2017.
  • The Town of Bluffton’s bond rating at June 30, 2017 was Aa2 from Moody’s and an AA+ from Standard & Poor’s. Moody’s upgraded the Town to an Aa1 in October 2017. Both agencies stated the high ratings reflect the growth in the tax base and a healthy financial position supported by financial policies, professional management, and modest debt.

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) awarded a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to the Town of Bluffton for its comprehensive annual financial report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2016. This was the ninth consecutive year that the Town has achieved this prestigious award.

In order to be awarded a Certificate of Achievement, a government must publish an easily readable and efficiently organized comprehensive annual financial report. This report must satisfy both generally accepted accounting principles and applicable legal requirements.

A Certificate of Achievement is valid for a period of one year. We believe that our current comprehensive annual financial report continues to meet Certificate of Achievement Program’s requirements.

I hope that this information, along with the link to the report, gives you comfort in knowing that your town is fiscally responsible and in great shape. The final report is available on the Town’s website. To access it, visit www.townof bluffton.sc.gov/documents/cafr.2017.pdf.

Lisa Sulka is the mayor of the Town of Bluffton.