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Clean bill of health for A.V. finances
• Though revenues are down and expenses are up, the town still finished the last fiscal year with more than $17 million in unrestricted cash reserves, according to an independent audit report that’s being presented to council tonight.

    The town received an unqualified or “clean” opinion on its financial statements for the 2008-09 year from accounting firm Teaman, Ramirez & Smith, Inc., and expects to receive an award for “excellence in financial reporting” for the second year in a row.

    Not that the audit presents an entirely rosy picture.

    The town saw its revenue drop $1.2 million from June 2008 to June 2009 for a 20 percent decline in property tax-related income, with the San Bernardino County Assessor granting value drops as the housing market took a dive. And investment income decreased by another $1.3 million, or 55 percent, with interest rates down dramatically from previous years.

    Meanwhile, though the town slightly reduced its general operating expenses, it spent an additional $4 million on transportation projects and $1.3 million more on public safety — up 13 percent from the previous year.

    Revenues in the general fund, responsible for most of the town’s day-to-day operations, were down $1 million and expenses were $223,870 over what the town had budgeted going into the fiscal year, according to the audit.

    The general fund also transferred $650,720 to cover deficits in other funds, with
the newly created fund for the Apple Valley County Club — which the town is in escrow for and waging a lawsuit over — closing the year with a $741,330 deficit.

    But thanks largely to an ongoing sales tax revenue boost, the audit states that the general fund overall only decreased by $45,563 from the 2007-08 fiscal year.

   The town is planning a mid-year budget review in late February or mid-March, to see how close it is to hitting this year’s estimates half-way through the fiscal year.

Brooke Edwards may be reached at (760) 955-5358 or at


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