Stillwater News

City CFO Releases 2017 CAFR, highlights City’s financial health

Released:Feb 05, 2018


(STILLWATER, OKLAHOMA / Feb. 5, 2018) – City of Stillwater CFO Melissa Reames has released the City’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for fiscal year 2017, which is prepared annually in a manner designed to fairly present the financial position and results of operations of the various funds and account groups of the City.

“While we have managed to budget our resources to fit the new financial realities, we must continue to be prudent in our spending and to find new revenue sources that will allow the City to be financially stable into the future. If we don’t, we will not be able to consistently deliver the quality services our residents expect and deserve,” Reames said.

The report’s discussion and analysis divides the City into three kinds of activities:

  • Governmental activities: Most of the City’s basic services are reported here, including the police, fire, administration, streets and parks. Sales taxes, franchise fees, fines, and state and federal grants finance most of these activities.
  • Business-type activities: The City charges a fee to customers to help cover all or most of the cost of certain services it provides. The City’s electric, water, waste water and waste management utilities are reported here, along with the airport.
  • Discretely presented component units: The City’s report has one discretely presented component unit, the Stillwater Medical Center Authority. Although a legally separate entity, this component unit is important because the City is financially accountable for them in some way. The Stillwater Medical Center Authority is a public trust of the City and the City is the beneficiary of the trust.

Below are some highlights detailed in the report:

  • The General Fund’s fund balance decreased from Fiscal Year 2016 by $3.9 million as a result of a refund of excess FY2016 transfers in FY2017 between the general fund and the Stillwater Utilities Authority.
  • The Transportation Fund received a transfer from the general fund of a half-percent sales tax dedicated for transportation improvements. The Transportation Fund’s fund balance increased from FY2016 by $4.8 million due to a decrease in expenditures on transportation capital projects and increases in interest income and miscellaneous revenue.
  • The net position of the Stillwater Utilities Authority has increased by $14.8 million, or 8.2 percent. Operating expenses increased by $6.3 million due to an increase in the power cost adjustment billed to the Authority by the purchased power supplier, an increase in natural gas costs and an increase in depreciation expense.
  • At the end of the current fiscal year, the City of Stillwater can report positive balances in net position for the governmental activities and business-type activities, as well as for the City as a whole. The largest portion of the City’s net position, 71.6 percent, reflects its investment in capital assets, less any related debt used to acquire those assets to provide services to citizens. Capital assets are items such as land, buildings, machinery and equipment, and infrastructure. Consequently, these assets are not available for future spending.

The report also looked at the community as a whole and reported that Stillwater has a diverse economy with a high degree of stability and included some additional insights:

  • Employment in the state and local government sectors account for approximately 40 percent of local wage and salary jobs. In addition, manufacturing and advanced technology companies cover a large share of the local economic base. Stillwater’s cost of living remains well below the state and U.S. averages.
  • The health care sector has been a contributor to local job growth in the past decade with continuing expansion.
  • Stillwater had major commercial construction projects under way at the end of FY2017 including high rise apartment complexes geared toward students, a performing arts center on the Oklahoma State University campus, upgrades to Stillwater Regional Airport in support of daily commercial air service to and from Dallas Fort Worth, and expansion of the health care sector in the form of a Continuing Care Retirement Community, administrative facility and cancer treatment center.
  • Stillwater’s retail sector has seen some volatility with the closing of several retailers only to have an equal number of new retailers opening. Internet sales not subject to requiring the collection of sales tax continue to affect local retailers, putting them at a disadvantage. Stillwater attributes several retail closures to this phenomenon.
  • In an effort to stimulate small business, Stillwater has entered into tax abatement agreements with several downtown retailers and created two tax increment financing districts to support larger retailers. These efforts have been moderately successful in attracting and retaining retailers. Stillwater continues to explore avenues to create an economically sustainable downtown linked to the university’s continuing expansion.

In addition to the governmentwide financial statements, the report also includes the following:

  • Revenue and expenditures
  • Pension benefits, contributions, actuarial assumptions, and funding ratios
  • Net position, fund balances and tax revenues
  • Principal employers
  • Debt and debt capacity
  • Demographic and economic data
  • Staffing and operating indicators

The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report is the complete record of the City’s finances for the fiscal year that just ended. It contains the governmentwide financial statements, consistent with generally accepted accounting principles, and has been audited by Berberich Trahan & Company, P. A., a firm of independent certified public accountants. The full CAFR, Stillwater Utilities Authority annual financial report and Single Audit Report (of federal grant expenditures) are available at

“The report is 128 pages and written for a financial audience; however, we are available to answer any questions the public may have,” Reames said.

Questions may be emailed to or call 405.742.8219.

For more information, contact the Office of Marketing and Public Relations at 405.742.8219 or email

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