Audit reveals $264K unassigned fund balance for DDA

MANISTEE — The Downtown Development Authority is taking action on various financial aspects of the downtown district, while the annual budget process looms ahead.

The DDA’s annual audit results for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2018, were presented on Wednesday. In addition, a potential grant opportunity for the downtown area was also brought forth.

Ken Talsma, of Anderson, Tackman and Company, PLC, shared the audit results. DAA board members approved the audit, with a few pending changes. Vice chair Barry Lind voted no.

“I’ll make the motion to approve the audit, with the clarifications,” said Valerie Bergstrom, DDA treasurer.

One highlight of the report included an increase in net position of $43,375, as the authority received $395,907 in revenues and $352,532 in expenses for the fiscal year.

According to the report, the assets of the DDA exceeded its liabilities at the end of the fiscal year by $459,555, representing an increase of $43,375 over the previous fiscal year.

Talsma said, of this amount, $459,555 (unrestricted net position) may be used to meet the government’s ongoing obligations to citizens and creditors.

The previous audit, which was for the fiscal year 2016-17 ending on June 30, 2017, found that the general fund’s unassigned fund balance was at $212,453, which is 64 percent of its total expenditures.

At the end of the fiscal year of 2017-18, the general fund had a balance of $342,024. Of this amount $263,479 is unassigned, which is 77 percent.

This is an increase of $152,610 in unassigned fund balance from the previous year.

For the fiscal year ending in June 30, 2018, the unassigned fund balance for the general fund, at $263,479, is totaled at 75 percent of the general fund’s total expenditures.

The general fund is the authority’s primary operating funds, and accounts for all financial resources for the DDA.

“We had a little bit of a bump from last year from (around) $290,000 to $342,000 (in fund balance),” Talsma said.

The DDA board is also in the process of approving a final 2019-20 budget. More details will be revealed as they become available.

Another subject of Wednesday’s meeting was a potential grant opportunity with AARP through its community challenge grant.

Lissette Reyes, Rising Tide fellow for the City of Manistee, is in the process of the helping the DDA with its application. Board members approved the application process on Wednesday.

If approved, funds would be used for downtown and Riverwalk improvements, which were previously identified through the Michigan State University Extension downtown visioning process last year.

The application deadline is April 17, and the project completion date would be no later than Nov. 4.

“I think if we were to get it, it could be a big win for our downtown and for the community,” stated Reyes, in a memo to Tom Kaminski, interim DDA director.

The following potential projects are detailed in the DDA’s proposal:

• Beautification of the River Street gateway arch — $6,700;

• Downtown restroom lettering — $700;

• Gateway arches to the Riverwalk — $6,750;

• Installation of Manistee banners and brackets — $5,800;

• Map display — $1,400;

• Greenbush Street metal awning over map sign — $2,000.

The total estimated amount needed for all items would be around $23,400. Matching funds are not required.

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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