HIAWASSEE, Ga – Rushton and Associates gave the city of Hiawassee a clean or unmodified opinion for their 2020 audit. It’s the second year in a row that Hiawassee received this rating.
The 2020 audit showcased how city revenues dropped and expenditures increased for the year too. Revenues were down $55,012 (5.4 percent). Expenditures were up $73,922 (8.8 percent).
The following revenue areas decreased for the year:
- Motor Vehicle Tax – $49,779
- Franchise Tax – $12,447
- Intergovernmental Revenues – $56,457
However, four departments increased revenue:
- Property Tax – $13,360
- Local Option Sales Tax – $10,402
- Alcohol Beverage Tax – $6,296
- Fines, Fees, and Forfeitures – $24,352
On the expenditure side, the administration increased by $82,997 due to capital outlay.
The unassigned fund balance grew from 2019 to 2020 to $389,653 or 47.6 percent of expenditures. The city has 5.1 months of operating expenses on hand in case of emergencies. It’s recommended to keep at least three months of expenditures stored away.
In 2020 the city also paid off one loan in the amount of $697,996 and paid $287,585 in principle on other loans. Since 2017, they reduced the debt by 41 percent. Currently, $2,694,778 in debt is still outstanding.
Hiawassee received $47,000 in CARES Act Funding, $3,000GMA Safety Grant from LGRMS, $68,000 USDA Rural Development Grant for the Paris Building, $17,000 LMIG grant from GDOT, and $8,000 mural grant.
Water and Sewer
The water and sewer operating revenue grew by $279,015 (14.4 percent). $114,559 came from a payment made by the water treatment plant. According to Rushton and Associates CPA Chris Hollifield, the remaining amount, $164,456 came from revenue growth.
Operating expenses for 2020 increased by $69.352 (4.2 percent). From 2019 to 2020, operating income shot up by $209,663.
Water Treatment Plant
Revenue for the water treatment plant decreased by $12,211 (1.65 percent) and expenses increased by $192,110 (46.4 percent). The payment made to water and sewer accounted for the majority of the change. In 2019, the water treatment plant made $327,838 in income. In 2020, the plant’s income was $123,512.
Police Year in Review Report
In 2020, Hiawassee Police Department filed 274 reports, issued 308 warnings and 325 tickets. It made 75 arrests: 10 misdemeanor drug offenses, 18 felony drug offenses, 44 other misdemeanors, and 3 felonies.