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City finances continue to improve

Yukon’s finances are in the best shape they have been in for years, according to a company that review’s the city’s books each year.
Frank Crawford, with Crawford and Associates, met with the city council on Tuesday to discuss his annual Performeter report.
The Performeter is a snapshot of the city’s finances that tells where the city stands on its financial position, financial performance and financial capabilities.
The results of the 30-page document are based on the city’s annual audit.
Crawford told the council that the report is based on a scale of zero to 10, though no city can reach a 10 nor can one be as low as a zero.
Yukon has an overall rating of 7.2, which is a significant improvement over the past few years.
Crawford and his company have been conducting the report for Yukon since 2013.
In 2013, Yukon had an overall score of 5.2 That dipped to 4.8 in 2015 when the city’s finances basically tanked.
However, since then, the overall score has slowly climbed. Last year, the overall score was 6.6, Crawford said.
Yukon’s financial position continues to be the low score for the city at 5.8. However, its performance was 9.0.
The financial capability, which is its borrowing potential, was a 6.2.
“There is nothing but good news tonight,” Crawford told the council.
According to the report, the 2019 overall reading of 7.2 indicates … that Yukon’s overall financial health and performance continues to be well above satisfactory, has improved over its scores of prior years and is now at its highest score of the seven years analyzed.
Crawford said Yukon’s turnaround has been spectacular, going from less than a 5 four years ago to above 7 today.
“Yukon was in bad shape,” he said. “When you get into the 4s, it is really indictive of you have dug some holes for yourself, and the city had dug itself into a hole.”
The turnaround began in 2016 and has continued over the past few years.
Crawford said Yukon falls within the realm of those municipalities that are are financially stable. Most, he said, will score in the mid-7s.
“A 7.2 is very respectable, especially when you measure where you were three or four years ago,” Crawford said.
He also said that based on the conservative way that Yukon’s administration operates, it is unlikely that Yukon will see its numbers decline in the near future.
The one area of concern involves the city’s pension plan, which is funded at around 82 percent. Crawford said that while it is not unusual for the pension plans to not be fully funded, he would like to see those numbers increase.
He also pointed out that liabilities involving the firefighters’ pension are issues involving state funds; however, they show as liabilities for the city.
The good news for Yukon is that its reserve accounts are fully funded.
“You didn’t dig your way into the hole in one year, nor can you dig your way out in one year. But you have done a wonderful job in the last three to four years of digging out of the hole, and have successfully done that,” he said.
Meanwhile, the council also heard from auditor Chris Heim of HBC CPAs.
Heim said Yukon’s audit for fiscal year 2019 was considered “clean.”
Heim said the city’s net position increased by $6.4 million over the previous year.
He also said the city’s expenses were $29.7 million and were funded by program revenue of $4.5 million and revenue and taxes of $28.7 million.
“Revenues exceeded expenses by $3.5 million,” Heim said.
At the end of the fiscal year, he said, the city had an unassigned fund balance of $3.9 million.
The other piece of good news from the audit was that the city’s “unrestricted deficit” is also being reduced.
In 2019, that number was $5.9 million. That is down from $6.6 million the previous year. In 2018, that total was $8.2 million.
“Slowly, we are chipping away at that,” Heim said.
Another bright spot for the city was the amount of “miscellaneous” revenue, which jumped 700 percent.
Heim said that increase was the result of the sale of some city property, insurance reimbursements along with refunds from a water tower that went online.
Mayor Michael McEachern said he was pleased with the results of the audit.
“It is certainly a wonderful story compared to five years ago,” he said.

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