Niles’ annual financial report shows clean audit, revenue increases in 2023

Published 8:41 am Wednesday, March 13, 2024

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NILES — The City of Niles is in sound financial shape, as it received an unmodified opinion from Maner Costerisan on the fiscal year 2023 city audit.

The city council reviewed the financial statements for their most recently completed financial year during their meeting Monday. Bill Tucker of the city’s auditing firm, Maner Costerisan, said that the municipality received an unmodified audit opinion, which is considered a “clean” audit report, for FY 2023.

“The audit process is always a little stressful because they are taking a really deep look at what you’re doing and if you’re doing it correctly,” said City Administrator Ric Huff. It’s always very reassuring when the audit report comes out and it confirms that we have some really dedicated staff that are working and trying to make sure that they’re safeguarding the municipal funds and asking them properly and accounting for them.”

According to Tucker’s report, the city’s total general fund revenues of $11.8 million, an increase of $300,000 (3 percent) over the previous year – compared to the city’s total expenditure for FY 2023 of $10.5 million – a decrease of approximately $600,000 (5.7 percent). The city also added $1.3 million to its fund balance, continuing its trend of adding monies to the fund balance.

“While we’ve been adding to the fund balance, we’ve been lowering or controlling expenses at the same time, so we’ve been able to build a better financial fund balance for the city and prepare us for any potential market changes that may occur in the future.”

Huff, who became city administrator in 2011, said the city was feeling the impact of the Great Recession of 2008 when he came into the position and that the plans put in place then continue to benefit the city today. In 2021, Niles recovered from the recession in 2021 when there were estimates that it would take the city until 2048.

“We were fortunate when we went into the Great Recession, my predecessor wanted to build money, and we needed it,” he said. “Property values dropped and things happened. We needed that fund balance so that we could maintain our level of services. It’s taken a long time to build that money back, but we have. I think the audit demonstrates that the city’s in a solid financial position for the future.”