Vol. 15 Issue No. 2 | January 14 – 20, 2009

Carefree has more in reserves than most towns

CAREFREE – Last week Town Councilman Greg Gardner explained how the Town of Carefree has $1,167 per citizen in its reserve accounts, which is more per resident than only two Arizona communities with populations under 5,000.

Gardner, a Certified Public Accountant, has been Carefree’s financial guru in his many years on the town council. He compared Carefree’s per capita reserve amounts to those of Thatcher and Gila Bend.

He said Thatcher had sufficient reserves because it has a manufacturing firm in the community. Gila Bend is the only rest stop on the way to both San Diego and Rocky Point, Mexico.

Carefree Mayor Wayne Fulcher said it is good any time a community has substantial reserves.

“That’s what they are there for – a rainy day,” he said.

Gardner said Carefree has nearly $5 million in reserve accounts because of good management.

“At the governor’s conference in September they told us the economic outlook was not going to be rosy,” he said.

A decision was made later in the fall to not spend $600,000 of last year’s fiscal year (2008-09) budget.

Both Gardner and Carefree Assistant Town Clerk, and accountant, Jim Keen said Carefree’s monthly sales-tax revenue has been down 15 percent since June 30 (the beginning of 2008-09 fiscal year).

“We could see the writing on the wall a year ago because houses weren’t selling and construction was down,” he said. Carefree Town staff’s present focus is on monitoring potential revenues as well as capital expenses.

“In 2009/2010 we will work on a balanced budget,” Gardner said. Many capital projects are on hold while Carefree assesses its financial position. “We just hope sales tax will go up.”