Audit Shows Hastings In Good Financial Position
The City of Hastings is in a good financial position as it looks at potential significant costs in the near future.
That was how Roger Nash, the city’s director of finance, described the situation after the city received its audit report for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2022 from Grand Island accounting firm AMGL.
Members of the Hastings City Council received the audit report during their work session on March 20.
The city had $19,124,799 million in general fund cash as of Sept. 30, 2022. That balance is far above the target amount of $9.670 million.
The amount is less than the $21,281,796 reported in the 2021 audit. Nash said the $2,156,997 difference between the 2021 and 2022 figures represents the city’s 2022 payment for the repairs that occurred in 2021 and 2022 near the intersection of U.S. highways 281 and 6, and also increased expenditures for public safety.
Having nearly $20 million in reserves places the City of Hastings in a good position as the city looks at significant costs for potentially repairing, renovating, relocating or building a new City Hall as well as a local share of costs associated with the State of Nebraska’s planned Hastings Southeast project, which would rebuild 2.39 miles of U.S. Highway 6 and Elm Avenue at the city’s east entrance.
“We’re fortunate to have options,” Nash said. The utility department cash was $86,652,170 million as of Sept. 30,2022, also above the target amount of $81,580,000 million.
Hastings finished the 2022 fiscal year with $4,656,503 in outstanding general obligation debt. Following payments on three street pavement bonds and a public safety bond for the purchase of a new fire engine, the city is scheduled to end the current fiscal year on Sept. 30 with a general obligation balance of $4,252,193.
Hastings finished with a debt-to-valuation ratio of .33%. That ratio is less than the .37% of the previous year. AMGL considers a good general obligation debt to valuation ratio to be anything less than 5% and excellent to be less than 3%.
When it comes to benchmarks, Hastings finished above the recommended amounts for revenue and below for expenses in nearly every category.
Even in the sales tax category, at $340 Hastings may be below the recommended level of $370 per capita, but the city still increased $28 per capita from the 2021 amount of $312.
That is the largest per-capita sales tax increase for the city in more than five years and follows a trend of increasing per-capita receipts each year.