City of Wichita officials on Tuesday released local government’s annual financial report, showing good financial health, a strong reserve balance and sound management. Specifically, City government’s General Fund reflected an ending fund 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 following year.
The City’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the year ended December 31, 2015 was presented to the Mayor and City Council during the regular Council meeting. The CAFR includes the City’s audited financial statements and provides other information on the City’s outstanding debt, the audit of federal programs, trend data and other information useful to rating agencies, grantor agencies, citizens and other interested parties.
The annual report also reflects that the City’s total outstanding bonded indebtedness was just over $1 billion at the end of 2014 and increased slightly to nearly $1.1 billion at the end of 2015. During 2015, the City issued $240.6 million in new bonded debt, while bonded debt totaling $193.9 million was retired. During 2015, the City refinanced general obligation bonds and Water and Sewer Utility Revenue Bonds saving $11.3 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 has remained flat since 2008 as a result of reappraisal and the legislative tax exemption of machinery and equipment. Even though valuations have remained flat for the past several years, the City has maintained a stable mill levy to deliver services in alignment with Council priorities and in spite of challenges experienced since the recession.
Relatedly, the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) awarded the City a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the 2014 fiscal year. The 2014 award represents the 42nd consecutive year that the City earned this award.