City of Andalusia earns positive audit report

Published 12:00 pm Friday, July 8, 2022

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The City of Andalusia received positive news on its financial standing Tuesday when the city council was presented the 2021 fiscal year audit report.

According to the audit — conducted by the accounting firm of Rabren, Odom, Pierce and Hayes — the city closed the fiscal year on Sept. 30, 2021 with net assets of $38.77 million, an increase over FY 2020 of $4.3 million.

“We made money and our cash position continues to increase from year to year,” said Missy Pierce during her report to the city.

The city’s combined governmental funds for 2021 ended at a balance of $17.92 million, an increase from prior year of over $3.27 million.

The cash balance for the city ended at $16.98 million, which reflects a $3.2 million increase from 2020. The city’s unrestricted cash increased over $2 million from prior year, representing approximately 51 percent of the city’s balance on Sept. 30, 2021.

The report also showed that the city financed loans for the purchase of capital assets and construction projects in the amount of just under $1.176 million. The city also paid over $2 million on long-term debt during the fiscal year.

The auditors said the city’s revenues from taxes, programs, and other sources was approximately $24.8 million, which is about the same as FY20.

Expenses for government activities were just under $20.20 million, an increase of over $1.5 million. One reason cited for the increased expenses is related to 2020 reductions due to the pandemic, including having to furlough employees.

The total revenue exceeded expenses by more than $4.61 million for the fiscal year.

“This is a months-long, in-depth process. The auditors really dig in and we have to explain things to their satisfaction. They have a standard to uphold and this report shows that we’ve done a reasonably good job with taxpayer resources,” said City Clerk John Thompson.

The auditors also presented to the council an Internal Control Report. There were no “findings” involved with the report, which would be those items the city needed to correct.

“For the past few years we have had a finding, but the mayor’s office, the city administrator, treasurer and secretary have taken action to address that finding, which was the result of a recent federal guideline that we needed to address. This audit shows that finding has been resolved. This is the first time that I recall that there has not been a single finding of any kind on our audit,” said Mayor Earl Johnson.

The council will review the audit document and consider it for approval at the July 19 council meeting.

Other items discussed by the council included:

  • approving an amendment to the city’s Appraisal Performance Policy, related to procedures for employee salary increases.
  • approving four weed abatements for properties on Goode, W. Watson, S. Cotton, and King streets.
  • approving the reimbursement cost to be charged to property owners for abatements recently handled by the city.
  • approving to join in a legislative act with the Retirement System of Alabama that will provide a one-time payment to the city’s retired employees. The cost to the city for participating in the program is $46,192. Retired employees will receive $2 for each month they worked for the city.

The next city council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 19, 6 p.m., with a workshop preceding at 5:30. The public is invited to attend.