Menifee’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report is praised by auditors

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The Menifee City Council received a glowing Comprehensive Annual Financial Report from its auditors Wednesday, Dec. 18, with a reported increase in its 2019 general fund revenues of $5,371,440 over 2018 and its expenditures down $7,511,689.

The contracted city auditors Rogers, Anderson, Malody and Scott, LLP, certified public accountants, said they found “no disagreements with management, no material irregularities were discovered, and no significant accounting issues were found,” in the CAFR audit. They added that the city’s General Fund Accounting GOFA Award is again being applied for. The city won the award in 2018 as well.

The report shows the total government funding for the city at year-end was $88,732,376, which was up $13,324,730 or 17.67% from last year’s funding. The main portion of the increase came from a 47% increase in property taxes. It also showed a 227.98% increase in the city’s use of money and property. The only loss in the total government funding was a decrease in the number of licenses and permits totaling $102,025.

The general fund revenue report was even more encouraging to the city council, as the audit showed it increased $5,371,440 over last year with a total $61,101,247 collected. Again the city’s use of money was attributed to the revenue increase.

The general fund expenditures of $64,730,502 were up $9,172,171 or 16.51% from last year, but its capital outlay was down $754,897 or 12.80%. The cost increase was seen mostly in the cost of public safety at $27,389,574 that included police and fire contracts from Riverside County and Cal Fire.

The city’s engineering and public works costs also increased $3,997,385, which was mainly attributed to road work improvements and street lighting additions.

The audit also showed that the budgeted general fund revenues were up $2,725,783, while budgeted expenditures dropped $7,511,689, which resulted in the city spending less than they budgeted at the beginning of the year.

Some of the savings, according to City Manager Armando Villa, were because the city had not been able to fill a number of needed staff positions to meet the city’s growth.

The audit report also took into account Menifee’s assets that include lands, right of ways, buildings, construction, equipment and infrastructure. Those assets now total an estimated $174,915,496, which is up $45,405,975 over last year.

During the meeting, the council appointed Councilmember Matthew Leisemeyer as the new mayor pro tem for 2020. Bill Zimmerman remains the city’s mayor, having been appointed to elected Mayor Neil Winter’s position. Winter unexpectedly died in May before his term was up. Zimmerman will run for the elected mayor’s slot in next year’s elections.

The council in a 3-2 vote also resolved to deny the conditional use permit for an AT&T cell tower proposed in Wheatfield Park on second reading. Zimmerman and Councilmember Dean Deines voted not to approve the denial and to allow the tower to be erected. They were outvoted.

Digital Dental Leaders was awarded the city’s Business Spotlight video for the month while the CIF championship women’s volleyball contenders from Paloma Valley High School came forward to receive an award of recognition for their election to the CIF finals. Each player received a certificate and pin from the city.

Menifee resident Leslie Stinson, who can be seen almost daily out cleaning up many of streets and lots cluttered with debris and helping Code Enforcement officers, was named the Outstanding Citizen of the Month. He was nominated by the Code Enforcement Department.

Tony Ault can be reached by email at tault@reedermedia.com.