City officials released the local government’s financial report for 2015 this morning. The report showed good financial health, sound management and a strong reserve balance. The city government’s General Fund reflected an ending balance of $36.1 million; the reserve balance of the General Fund was 11.4% of the 2016 Adopted Budget, which exceeds the City’s established minimum reserve level of 10% of budgeted expenditures for the next year.
Wichita's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for 2015, which ended on December 31 of last year, was presented to Mayor Longwell and City Council during the regularly scheduled Council meeting. The CAFR includes the Wichita’s audited financial statements and gives other information on financial issues like the city’s outstanding debt, the audit of federal programs, trend data and other information useful to grantor agencies, rating agencies, citizens and other interested parties.
The report also reflected the city’s total outstanding bonded indebtedness, which was just over $1 billion at the end of 2014. By the end of 2015, this number increased slightly to nearly $1.1 billion. During 2015, $240.6 million was issued by the city in new bonded debt, while bonded debt totaling $193.9 million was retired. The City also refinanced general obligation bonds and Water and Sewer Utility Revenue Bonds in 2015, saving $11.3 million in financing costs over the remaining life of the bonds.
The report also includes 10-year trend data, which signifies the City’s assessed valuation, which has remained flat since 2008 as a result of reappraisal and the legislative tax exemption of equipment and machinery. Even though valuations have remained flat for the past several years, Wichita has maintained a stable mill levy to deliver services in alignment with Council priorities and in spite of challenges experienced since the recession.
The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) has also awarded the City of Wichita a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the 2014 fiscal year. This is the 42nd consecutive year that the city has earned this award.