City of Alabaster receives strong audit report

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Alabaster ended the 2017 fiscal year on strong financial footing, a Birmingham-based independent auditing firm told council members in its recent audit of the city’s finances.

During an April 23 meeting, the Alabaster City Council voted to accept the 2017 fiscal year audit from the Carr, Riggs and Ingram CPA and Advisors firm. The audit examined the city’s finances at the end of the last fiscal year, which ran from Oct. 1, 2016, through the end of September last year.

While the city has independent audits conducted every year, this marked the first year the city requested a more in-depth comprehensive financial report, Carr, Riggs and Ingram representative Jason Harpe told council members during an April 19 work session.

The city earned an unmodified opinion, which is the highest opinion given by Carr, Riggs and Ingram, Harpe said.

“I think this adds a lot of transparency,” Harpe said of the comprehensive audit, noting the document examined finances, personnel count, mileage and more. “It’s certainly a big task, and I applaud (Alabaster Chief Financial Officer) John (Haggard).”

“It’s our city and our mayor and our council making an exceptional commitment to transparency to its citizens,” Haggard said.

According to the audit report, Alabaster’s total assets exceeded its liabilities by $31.7 million at the end of the 2017 fiscal year.

At the end of the past fiscal year, the city had about 107 days’ worth of operational reserve set aside, which is more than the 90 days recommended for cities, Harpe said.

“What that means is that if the city ceased collecting everything, you’d be able to continue to operate for about 100 days,” Harpe said.  “That’s very good.”

The city contributed a total of about $5.2 million to the city’s education fund during the 2017 fiscal year, according to the report. One percent of the city’s sales tax is earmarked for the education fund, which can only be accessed by the Alabaster Board of Education.

The audit also listed the top sales tax-generating businesses in the city during the last fiscal year:

  1. Walmart Supercenter
  2. Lowe’s Home Improvement
  3. Walmart Neighborhood Market
  4. Publix
  5. Target
  6. Best Buy
  7. Belk
  8. Aldi
  9. TJ Maxx
  10. Chick-Fil-A

 

The top 10 employers in Alabaster had a total of 3,831 employees in 2017. The top 10 employers last year were:

 

  1. Shelby Baptist Medical Center
  2. Alabaster Board of Education
  3. AGC Automotive Americas
  4. DEshazo Crane
  5. Lhoist North America
  6. Chandler Health and Rehab
  7. Shelby Ridge and Rehab Select
  8. Hibbett Sports
  9. Mspark
  10. Fresenius Medical -TruBlue Logistics

 

To view the entire audit report on the city’s website, visit Cityofalabaster.com/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/187.