The City's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the year ending Dec. 31, 2017 shows a strong general fund balance, captured savings in financing costs and award-winning financial reporting. The annual report includes the City's audited financial statements and provides other information on outstanding debt, the audit of federal programs, trend data and information useful to rating agencies, grantor agencies, citizens and other interested parties.
On a budgetary basis, the General Fund balance was $51.3 million. This balance includes $19 million from the sale of the Hyatt Regency Wichita, which has been committed to fund specific initiatives. The General Fund balance (excluding the $19 million from the Hyatt sale) is 13.7% of the 2018 Adopted Budget, which exceeds the City's established minimum reserve level of 10% of budgeted expenditures for the following year.
The CAFR, which was presented to the City Council on Tuesday, reflects that the City's total outstanding bonded indebtedness was just more than $1 billion at the end of 2017, which remains unchanged from the end of 2016. Of this amount, less than 5% is funded by property taxes. The City refinanced general obligation and Water and Sewer Utility revenue bonds in 2017, saving $2.6 million in financing costs over the remaining life of the bonds.
The CAFR also includes 10-year trend data signifying that the City's assessed valuation remained flat for several years as a result of reappraisal and the legislative tax exemption of machinery and equipment, but has shown signs of growth the past few years. The City maintains a stable mill levy to deliver services in alignment with City Council priorities.
Also, the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) awarded a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to the City for its CAFR, for the fiscal year ending on Dec. 31, 2016, marking the 44th consecutive year of winning the award.
To earn a Certificate of Achievement, a government must publish an easily readable and efficiently organized CAFR. The report must satisfy both generally accepted accounting principles and applicable legal requirements. The Certificate of Achievement is valid for one year only. The current CAFR continues to meet the Certificate of Achievement program requirements and has been submitted to the GFOA to determine its eligibility for another certificate.