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Nashua city audit 'clean and solid'

Union Leader Correspondent

January 15. 2014 11:30PM

NASHUA — City officials are praising Nashua’s most recent financial report, which indicates strong growth despite various economic challenges for the city.

“We had a clean and solid audit again,” Mayor Donnalee Lozeau told the Board of Aldermen this week.

In addition to the positive independent audit, Lozeau said the city also received a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports throughout the past eight years.

The most recent financial report for Nashua was released about three weeks ago for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2013.

According to the document, which is posted on the city’s website, Nashua has $149.3 million of authorized unissued debt, with about $78.8 million of general obligation debt outstanding for the school district, $34.7 million for the city and $147.2 million for the acquisition of Pennichuck Corp.

During fiscal year 2013, about $19 million in new debt was issued for various capital improvements and wastewater projects, says the report.

“The City of Nashua, ranked among the top 20 best affordable suburbs in the northeast by Business Week magazine, continues to grow, reinvent and reinvigorate itself in response to changing economic trends and challenges,” says the report prepared by John Griffin, chief financial officer for the city. “It remains a regional retail hub as well as an emerging force in the area for health care services.

Software development, electronics, telecommunications, robotics and medical devices have become key industries in recent years.”

Griffin went on to explain that although there is little land available in the city for new development, the rehabilitation and redevelopment of existing sites has become more prevalent to keep the city on the forefront of positive change.

He mentions various projects such as Gateway Hills, the Pheasant Lane Mall renovation, Cotton Mill Square housing initiative, Millyard redevelopment, the Bridge Street waterfront project and more.

“Property tax collections remain strong overall, however, investment income continues to experience declines due to the historically low interest rates,” says the report.

Revenue from motor vehicle registrations totaled about $11.4 million last year, which is about $1 million more than expected.

“This particular revenue source has rebounded from the downward trend that began in early 2008,” said Griffin.

Last year, the city received $35.9 million in State Adequate Education Grant Funds, the same as the prior year.

“This funding source remains the city’s most challenging revenue concern due to its significant impact on the city budget and the considerable tax rate relief it provides,” Griffin said.

An independent audit was conducted by Melanson Heath & Co., and is included in the city’s most recent financial report.

According to the audit, the city’s assets exceeded its liabilities at the close of the fiscal year by nearly $300,000, and the local government’s total net position increased by about $13,000.