Close Menu
Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Berlin 1st qtr. finances beat budget figures

Advances against last year noted in revenue collection

By Greg Ellison

(Nov. 11, 2021) The first quarter of Berlin’s general fund budget for FY22 performed well, according to a report to the Town Council Monday, with revenues significantly ahead of last year and expenses only slightly higher.

Finance Director Natalie Saleh, who reviewed general and enterprise funds for July through September for the council, said the town has spent $1.8 million, or about 26 percent, of a total FY22 budget estimate of $7.1 million.

During the opening quarter of FY21 total expenditures reached more than $1.4 million.

On the revenue side, Saleh said the town netted roughly $5.7 million during the first three months of FY22, which accounts for 81 percent of the $7.1 million budgeted. That compares to first quarter collections last year of $3.1 million.

Saleh reported, however, that the higher revenue totals during FY22 could be attributed primarily to $2.2 million from American Rescue Plan Act funds.

As of July 12, the town has received $2.3 million of a total $4.7 million in ARPA funding.

Saleh also reviewed the collection status of property taxes, which account for 57 percent of town revenues.

Through Sept. 30 the town has collected $2.6 million or 63 percent of the roughly $4.1 million budgeted from property taxes in FY22.

During the opening quarter of FY21 the town collected $2.2 million in property taxes.

Turning to the general fund balance, Saleh said through September the total was more than $5.1 million, including $1.68 million in non-spendable funds due from sewer and storm water fees, $1.64 million in unassigned spending available for unanticipated contingencies, $931,000 in assigned funds for health care and the community center project, $802,000 in committed funds from impact fees and $96,000 in restricted funds from slot revenues.

In addition to providing an overview of general fund numbers, Saleh also reviewed enterprise funds, including electric, water, sewer and storm water.

Starting with electric, Saleh said first quarter receipts were $932,000, or about 18 percent, of the $5.2 million in revenues budgeted for FY22.

During the first quarter of FY21 the town received $1.04 million from electric utility charges.

On the expense side, the town spent $1.1 million through September, or about 22 percent of the $5.3 million estimated for the fiscal year. In FY21, electric fund expenses reached $1.2 million after the three-month mark.

Mayor Zach Tyndall said the electric fund, which is operating at a loss of more than $222,000, typically ebbs low at the one-quarter mark in the fiscal year.

Saleh said in past years the electric fund performed marginally better, albeit still in the red, with a negative balance of roughly $159,000 for the first quarter of FY21.

Switching to the water fund, despite a smaller operating loss through September of more than $93,000, the balance deficit raised larger worries.

“The water fund is a concern,” she said.

During the first quarter of FY21 Berlin’s water fund operated at a loss of roughly $28,000.

Water fund revenues through September totaled $152,000, representing 16 percent of the total $937,000 budgeted, while expenses were more than $254,000, or 26 percent of budget totals.

Sewer fund revenues totaled $581,000 through September, or 23 percent of the $2.5 million budgeted.

On the expense side, sewer fund totals were roughly $452,000 through September, or 20 percent of a $2.2 million estimated for FY22.

To close September, the sewer fund is operating in the black by roughly $129,000, compared to a positive variance of $106,000 for the first quarter of FY21.

“We hope to stay on the same pattern,” she said.

Wrapping up with storm water, Saleh said on the expense side, the fund has totaled more than $37,000, or 14 percent of budget estimates.

On the revenue side, through September, the town has received roughly $143,000, or 49 percent of the $292,000 budgeted.

Saleh said the storm water fund closed September with a loss of $4,100, which was significantly offset by an $110,000 contribution from ARPA funds.

“This is another priority to look at,” she said. “It has operated in the negative for the last three years.”