TOLEDO, Ohio — With a general fund increase, more rainy-day dollars and lower labor costs, the City of Toledo received a clean audit for 2018. City Leaders sai this is good news, but their work isn't done.
"This is a perfect example of, you know, us cleaning up our internal health so that we can be a healthier community,” said Catherine Crosby, chief of staff for the City of Toledo. “So, the more that we're doing internally to clean up our finances and our service delivery really benefits the community externally. "
The state auditor gave the City of Toledo an “unmodified” report showing their statements fairly represent the city's financial picture. The picture, they said, looks good.
“We are working really hard to be accountable for their public dollars," Crosby said.
The report showed that the city has an increase in the general fund balance to $40.5 million dollars, a budget stabilization of $16.7 million for a rainy-day fund. All of this was possible because of the city's strategic budget, according to the deputy finance director.
"It's really a combination of increases in revenue,” Melanie Campbell, City of Toledo deputy Finance Director, said. “There was growth in the income taxes higher than were budgeted as well as saving and expenditures which is attributable to the efforts of the administration, of city council and really of all the city departments."
But the audit for 2018 did have one finding as opposed to six in 2017's audit. The deputy finance director said it was related to a previous year's balance that has since been corrected. But as they prepare for 2019 they are reviewing their practices.
"We'll work to review the funding and what caused it and address it in the future so that we don't see a repeat next year," Campbell said.
The audit did show a benefit from the city's recent growth. Income tax collections were $1.8 million higher than budgeted. The city also saw a decrease in labor costs like health care, salary savings and more. City Leaders said they want this trend to continue and will work to ensure it happens.
"We're going to be using data and focus on how we can use technology to be more efficient,” Crosby said. “And (we’ll) do some cost savings so just really looking at how we do business and doing it more efficiently."
If you want to take a look at the report or some of the highlight you can view it here.