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Springville enjoys good fiscal health

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SPRINGVILLE — "Art City" has managed to paint a picture of good fiscal health in 2001, keeping a close eye on spending and avoiding additional debt, according to a recent audit of the city's books.

Where most cities in the state are taking out additional bonds for ambitious projects and increasing spending, Springville City actually reduced its spending from $12 million in 2000 to $10 million in 2001.

"They were able to cut expenditures pretty significantly," said certified public accountant David Ogden, who conducted the audit.

"I find that most cities actually end up increasing their budget every year, but I think it's actually good for the city that Springville actually managed to cut out some of the fat," said Ogden, who also conducted audits for 12 other cities.

The city's sales and property tax revenues jumped by $1 million to a total of $4,844,712. Ogden said the jump in revenue is attributed to new businesses in town.

"It's mainly due to Wal-mart and other business coming into town. We have largely been a bedroom community. Wal-mart has brought in a fairly substantial increase to property and sales tax revenues," Ogden said.

As for debt, Springville holds $29 million in long-term debt for past bonds on projects.

"For the size of the city, I think they're in an fairly good position as far as their long-term debt. They haven't overbonded or anything," Ogden said, adding the city managed to reduce its debt by $4 million in 2001.

City Auditor David Allen said the city has followed a simple philosophy: if you don't have it to spend, don't spend it.

"We are much more conscientious in trying to identify cash within the city," Allen said. "Actually we did no bonding last year."

The city spent money buying several trucks and doing street work and continued construction of the Whitehead Power Plant, the city's most expensive project. The five-year-project is nearing completion with workers trying to get all seven power turbines online. In 2001, Allen said the city spent $1.5 million on the power plant.

Except for the power plant, Allen said the city has no large capital improvement plans for fiscal 2002. "We feel like we're trying to show some very sound fiscal responsibility," Allen said.

Ogden, himself a Springville resident, attributes the city's sound financial health to its leaders.

"I'm happy, as a citizen, for that," Ogden said.

E-MAIL: gfattah@desnews.com