Fenwick Earns Clean Fiscal Year Audit Report

ENWICK ISLAND – A recent audit of Fenwick Island’s financial statements revealed no major issues for the fiscal year ending July 31, 2020.

The Fenwick Island Town Council voted unanimously last Friday to accept an audit report from PKS & Company detailing the town’s financial position for fiscal year 2020.

Ashley Stern, partner with PKS, told town officials last week the firm had issued a clean, unmodified opinion.

“This is the highest level of opinion that public accountants can provide …,” she said. “This is not the case in every town. We’ve seen some really big issues this year, especially with COVID and remote working, so it’s a testament to town staff and the council as well.”

In an overview of the town’s government-wide financial statements, Stern noted a $216,000 increase in Fenwick’s overall net position, bringing the total to just over $4.5 million in fiscal year 2020. The town also recorded an unrestricted net position of roughly $649,000.

“The net position can really be indicative of the town’s health,” she said. “We’ve seen some growth in that in the past couple of years, but not too much egregious growth where the town isn’t providing money back into town services.”

In fiscal year 2020, the unassigned fund balance was $24,312, or 20% of the fund balance. Total general fund revenues decreased by $170,000 while total general fund expenses decreased by $40,000.

Stern told council members last week the town saw a significant decrease in charges for services last year, which she attributed to the number of building permits issued. She said Fenwick also saw a significant increase in realty transfer tax.

“We’re seeing that across the state with the real estate market the way it has been,” she said. “It’s a really positive thing for many municipalities.”

Actual expenditures in fiscal year 2020 totaled $2,433,935, or $294,619 more than budgeted, while actual revenues totaled $2,062,696, or $76,620 less than budgeted.

In her report, Stern noted actual expenditures were more than budgeted because of capital items, while actual revenues were less than budgeted because of reporting changes related to realty transfer tax revenues. She said the town’s fund balance would have increased from 2019 if realty transfer taxes were included.

Stern added the audit did not identify any significant deficiencies. She praised the council and town staff for implementing the firm’s recommendations from years prior.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.