Monday, November 30, 2015

City Goes Logomania

San Angelo City Council will consider allowing citizens to vote on new proposed logos to use for city business.  It's not clear if the current logo will be a possible vote.  Citizens kept an elected police chief.  What might they do with a logo?

Update 1-6-16:  The tally is in and the new logo is the city's old logo!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Water Bills Higher Despite Conservation

The City of San Angelo held a water rate forum Tuesday evening.  One slide showed the city's average water bill.

I wondered how the current average bill compared to the last time the City raised water rates in 2011.

Stormwater and Pumping fees were added since 2011.  It's been eighteen months since the city employed pumps at Twin Buttes to move water. The city has numerous buckets through which it moves water monies.

There are discrepancies between more than the last water rate increase and the current average water bill.  The City's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the last three years shows more water revenues and less water expenses than the consultant's figures.  These differences should be explained to the interested public.

I found it interesting that citizens cut their water use by 50% since 2011.  What assumptions does this study have for people responding to the conservation incentives highlighted in the session's question and answer period?  If citizens cut water use the last time fees rose dramatically might they do so again? 

Monday, November 16, 2015

San Angelo's Sales Tax Picture

San Angelo received less sales tax money than the prior year in six of the last seven months.  The decline accelerated in October to double digits.  San Angelo's Development Corporation board packets paint a different picture than San Angelo Live's piece based on a Chamber of Commerce interview.  What's a few months among friends?

Update 11-19-15:  The employment picture got bleaker with the loss of 120 jobs from National Oilwell Varco by the end of January 2016.  The multiplier effect cuts both ways. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Water Rate Increase: Study Data vs CAFR

Raftelis Financial Consultants' water revenue and expense data does not match the water revenue and expense information in the City of San Angelo's award winning Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports(CAFR) for the last three fiscal years, 2012-2014.

The 2012 CAFR shows considerably more revenue for the water fund, some $5 million more than Raftelis' data.

It also reveals a healthy water net income of nearly $8.5 million, way more than would be inferred by looking at Raftelis' two charts.

The 2013 CAFR shows the impact of the drought on water revenues, down $2 million from the prior year.

Water net income fell by half from 2012.

The water revenue situation held stable according to the 2014 CAFR.

 But water net income rebounded to nearly $10 million, the largest net margin of the three years.
The $5 million gap in 2014 expenses, Raftelis $20 million vs. the CAFR's $15.5 million, raises questions as to why the significant difference?

There is no 2015 CAFR to view as the fiscal year just ended.  The city does not post its preliminary annual financial statements or cover how the city closed out the year with Council.  Thus there is nothing for the public to view.

There are significant differences in the water revenue and expense pictures between Raftelis and the city's award winning audited financial statements. 

“This recognition should give our citizens a high degree of confidence that the City of San Angelo manages their tax dollars efficiently, effectively and transparently,” Finance Director Tina Carriger said. “That is always the aim of the Finance Department and all of the other City operations with which we work.”
I hoped Water Chief Bill Riley would speak to these differences in his November 3rd presentation to council.  He didn't, but maybe he will.

Update 11-19-15:  SanAngeloLive reported few citizens turned out for the initial public meeting to explain water rate increases.