Kingsport taxpayers and ratepayers can rest assured their tax dollars are managed wisely. The city once again received a clean opinion for the FY2018 CAFR – Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports, the highest opinion a CPA firm can issue. Continuing a long tradition of excellence, this is the 19th year in a row receiving the highest opinion.
The CAFR document is a detailed review of city government (including schools, utilities, and economic development). It covers 37 separate funds and all manner of financial issues from debt to assets.
“Maintaining the public trust is of paramount importance – and the most fundamental metric is how we perform in finance and audit,” said Jeff Fleming, city manager. “This is a statement that our money is properly accounted for and employees are held to the highest standards of financial integrity.”
The auditors found no material weaknesses or significant deficiencies during their review of the city’s financial controls and operations.
The Audit Committee Chair and Vice Mayor Mike McIntire noted that the audit was exceptional. “In my eight years as Chair of the Audit Committee and my extensive experience in the private and non-profit sector, this is the best audit I’ve ever seen, and I am so proud of our Finance Department,” said McIntire.
“Our staff deserves a tremendous amount of praise because they are doing an excellent job of maintaining consistent reporting at the highest level,” said Fleming. “A special thank you to Jim Demming and Lisa Winkle for their diligence.”
S&P reaffirmed the city’s AA bond rating, which was upgraded in 2017, for their financial management assessment of the city from “good” to “strong” due to financial management policies put in place by the BMA. The BMA has adopted a financial management and fund balance policy and continues to make progress on replenishing the city’s “rainy day” fund.
S&P, one of the most respected firms on Wall Street, said of Kingsport’s financial review:
- Strong economy, with access to a broad and diverse metropolitan statistical area (MSA)
- Strong management, with good financial policies and practices
- Strong budgetary performance, with a slight operating surplus in the general fund
- Very strong budgetary flexibility, with an available fund balance
- Very strong liquidity, with total government available cash and access to external liquidity
- Weak debt and contingent liability position, but rapid amortization (66.4% retired in 10 years)
- Very strong institutional framework score.