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Wake Forest earns favorable audit report

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WAKE FOREST — During its normal monthly meeting on Nov. 19, the Wake Forest Board of Commissioners received the results of an independent audit report from Cherry Bekaert LLP for the period July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019.

In addition to not revealing any audit findings or problems, the report acknowledged that the town is in compliance with all of its financial policies and operating with strong internal controls in place. The report also included several financial performance highlights:

• Net change in the town’s fund balance resulted in an increase of $822,000 in the general fund.

• Wake Forest collected 99.84 percent of its property taxes — higher than the average rate of 98.47 percent for towns of similar size.

• The town’s property tax base was $5.3 billion on June 30, 2019, compared to $4.9 billion at the same time last year.

• Property tax collections were $27.7 million — $1.8 million more than last year.

• The electric fund enjoyed a change in net position (total revenues over expenses) of $1,472,000.

• Wake Forest has a total outstanding debt of $47.9 million, which is substantially less than the legal debt margin of $378 million. Also, the percentage of the debt compared to the tax valuation is 0.90 percent, less than the town’s policy of two percent or the state’s statute which is eight percent.

Chief Financial Officer Aileen Staples said the last two years of favorable audit reports have been especially encouraging considering all the town accomplished without raising taxes.

“This year was particularly challenging due to the debt service requirements for the bonds issued in June 2018,” she said. “Plus, we were prepared to use fund balance; however; due to our continued conservative fiscal approach, we outperformed and exceeded budgeted expectations.”

In addition, for the 29th consecutive year, Wake Forest received the Certificate for Achievement of Excellence in Financial Reporting.

According to Staples, Assistant Finance Director Antwan Morrison and his staff deserve the credit.

“Antwan and his staff continue to do an outstanding job coordinating our audit process and preparing the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,” she said. “We are extremely fortunate to have him leading this effort.”

To view the 2018-19 CAFR, visit wakeforestnc.gov and search “CAFR.” For more information, contact CFO Aileen Staples at 919-435-9461 or astaples@wakeforestnc.gov.

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