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Town finances ahead entering final quarter

Rescue Act money biggest contributor to fiscal health

By Jack Chavez, Staff Writer

(June 2, 2022) The Town of Berlin’s finances are outpacing FY2021 at the third-quarter benchmark of FY2022.

Berlin Finance Director Natalie Saleh FILE PHOTO

At the May 23 meeting of the Berlin Town Council, Finance Director Natalie Saleh broke down revenues and expenses through the first nine months of the fiscal yearwhich ended on March 31, and reported on what the council should expect as the fiscal year enters its last month.

“Overall, at $8.8 million at the (3rd quarter) benchmark, we are (roughly 22.7 percent) higher than this point last year,” Saleh said.

The town had $7.15 million budgeted for revenue through the first nine months, but the actual number ended up at $8.78 million. The biggest change came from the “contributed revenue” category — $2.29 million more than last year — which is due to the town receiving American Rescue Plan Act funds earlier in the fiscal year.

Property tax revenuses are also up.

“The property taxes, I’m glad to report are being collected fully,” Saleh said at the meeting. “There is actually a little extra left over from what we budgeted (at $59,319).”

Intergovernmental revenues — grants from other government entities such as Worcester County — are up $28,592 at $1.02 million.

On the expense side, the town has spent $1.18 million on general government, $1.86 million on public safety and $686,428 on public works.

Overall, the town has spent about $210,055 more through the first three quarters of this fiscal year than in FY21.

“We have expenditures remaining at 33 percent, which is a good percentage,” Saleh said. “If we take into consideration the ARPA grant contributed revenues from the revenue total, the front balance as of March is $1.6 million, comparatively to FY21, is very close — by a $60,000 difference.”

The town budgets the most for public safety, which comes in at $2.31 budgeted for the year. General government follows at $1.97 million, then public works at $1.11 million and capital outlay at $949,500.

The general fund balance as of March 31 breaks down as:

$1.61 million in nonspendable money, which includes the sewer and stormwater funds.

$116,736 in restricted, which chiefly includes slot revenues that can only be spent according to guidelines set by higher levels of government

$902,176 in committed funds, including impact fees that are also restricted by spending guidelines.

$907,694 in assigned, which includes health care and the community center.

$1.67 million in unassigned, with is money available for unexpected costs and needs.

Overall, as of March 31, the general fund balance is about $5.2 million.

This story appears in the print version of Bayside Gazette on May 26, 2022.