• 43°

Partial council reviews city’s audit

Only three members of the Selma City Council took part in a called meeting Tuesday to hear a report from auditors reviewing the city's finances from the 2013 fiscal year. -- Tim Reeves

Only three members of the Selma City Council took part in a called meeting Tuesday to hear a report from auditors reviewing the city’s finances from the 2013 fiscal year. — Tim Reeves

The Selma City Council received an “unmodified” report from auditors Tuesday, showing the city “lived within its means” during the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2013.

“It was good to hear them say that we have been doing a good job,” said Selma Mayor George Evans. “We know that it is tough right now, but to hear them say that we are operating the right way is nice.”

But, the good news was not heard by the majority of the council. Only three members of the council, and Evans, attended the publicized meeting and review.

Ward 1 councilman Cecil Williamson called the turnout by fellow council members disappointing, while Ward 7 councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw called into question the motivation of missing council members.

“I can’t think of anything more important than our finances,” Crenshaw said. “It comes down to what you find important. If they don’t feel this important than you need to wonder what they do find important.”

Ward 6 councilman B.L. Tucker joined Williamson and Crenshaw.

During the review, Billy Daniels, with the accounting firm Warren Averett, went through the city’s assets, liabilities and long-term debt for the last fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30.

During the review, Daniels also detailed how the city’s financial reports were impacted by the ongoing expenditures tied to the 2010 bond issue, approved by voters in 2009.

As projects are paid out and completed, the amounts are removed from the financials, showing losses, or expenses. When the funds were placed in the city’s accounts in 2010, the full funds were counted as revenue.

The city is continuing to work with auditors on a full review, which would include recommendations by the auditors on suggested changes to the city’s accounting practices.

Overall, in the audit’s statement of net assets, the city was credited with $60.4 million in assets, down from the $63.0 million figure in 2012. The total net position of the city, removing liabilities, also decreased from 2012 to 2013, moving from $34.6 million in 2012 to $32.9 million in 2013.

As city leaders continue to examine the trending decline of sales tax revenues, the city’s revenues were relatively flat between 2012 and 2013.

In 2012, the city brought in $20.3 million compared to a little less in 2013 when the city brought in $20.2 million. Expenditures between the two reported years were also relatively the same.