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Lemon Grove gets some good financial news


It’s been less than two years since Lemon Grove’s finance department shared some sobering information with the city council — the city’s general fund was in a deficit of more than $340,000 and the deficit was expected to be $1.5 million in the coming year. current fiscal year.

But the once bleak financial outlook now appears to be moving in a more positive direction, an independent accountant told City Council last week. But as the city regains fiscal health in the near term, Lemon Grove will have to remain conservative in managing its spending.

Rodney Greek, interim director of administrative services and Greg Fankhanel of the city’s contracted auditors, Van Lant & Fankhanel, LLP, shared the comprehensive annual financial report for fiscal year 2020-21 ended June 30. The two assured the city council that its financial position appears to be on solid ground.

The audit report found that the city’s assets — including property, infrastructure, equipment and money in the bank — exceeded its liabilities, including $9.1 million in net pension liabilities — totaling $92.3 million.

It said the city’s total revenue of $29.2 million showed an increase of $3.5 million from the previous year. The city’s $23.5 million cost was down more than $750,000 from the previous year.

The General Fund’s revenues of $18.9 million exceeded expenses of $15.5 million, resulting in a $3.4 million surplus, the audit team reported.

Avoiding a General Funds deficit and having a significant surplus at the end of fiscal year 2020-2021 may seem surprising after (an earlier) discussion of the city’s structural deficit and the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. -19 pandemic,” said Greek previously detailed breakdowns of the reasons for the surplus sharing:

$1 million of the excess revenue comes from a one-time payment from a court settlement; An additional $1.1 million of the revenue surplus is attributable to higher-than-expected sales tax revenue, primarily due to an increase in online sales; Most of the $591,000 budget savings can be attributed to overall city savings, largely from the city’s Public Works Department managing spending during COVID and delaying some project work.

With Mayor Racquel Vasquez absent, the city council unanimously accepted the report, although Councilor Liana LeBaron said she was not completely happy with the audit.

LeBaron asked other city council members to authorize a forensic audit of the city’s finances, and during public remarks, former mayoral candidate and local entrepreneur Christopher Williams also asked the city council to consider a forensic audit.

Forensic audits are usually used to reveal criminal behavior, including fraud or embezzlement, and there’s usually something very specific to look at, Greek said.

The rest of the council rejected LeBaron’s request.

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