City has another clean audit

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, March 4, 2015

SOLID GROUND: Chellie Eavenson informed the council of the findings of their recent audit during Tuesday’s meeting. Photo by Jeremy Pittari

SOLID GROUND: Chellie Eavenson informed the council of the findings of their recent audit during Tuesday’s meeting.
Photo by Jeremy Pittari

The city of Picayune received a favorable opinion on their most recent audit.
Chellie Eavenson with Keene, Bourne, Sanderson, Haigler and Eavenson out of Hattiesburg, has done the city’s annual audit for the past five years. At the end of each audit presentation she is asked by the council how she would rate the city’s financial standing and dealings overall on a scale of 1 to 10.
This year she gave a rating of 9.6. Last year’s rating was 9.5.
Eavenson said she found no significant findings to disclose in this year’s audit.
She said the city is in compliance with state and federal governmental financial regulations.
She gave clean opinions in the areas of internal control and reporting, management of funds gained through federal grants or to be used in projects and under state regulations regarding the proper procedures of adopting and amending budgets and setting millage rates.
Overall, the city has about five months of cash on hand, spread between two accounts. In the city’s general fund account there is enough cash on hand to carry the city through three months of hard times, such as a natural disaster. The city also has a CD account with about two months of reserves, Eavenson said.
In the city’s utility and cemetery fund, which has strict restrictions on how the funds can be used, there are about three to four months of reserves on hand.
Prior to the current administration, the city was found to have a shortfall in their utility department of about $1 million in the fiscal year of 2005-2006, according to previous coverage by the Item.
In other business the council approved out of state travel for City Clerk Amber Hinton to attend the IIMC annual conference in Hartford Connecticut. Hinton said she is attending the conference to complete the Master Municipal Clerk program, which is advanced training, offered by the International Institute of Municipal Clerks.
The council also approved a motion to apply for up to $600,000 in Mississippi Development Authority grant funds that would be used to upgrade water systems in the areas of Herrin Drive, Nutter Drive and Davis Street, among others. City Engineer Brooks Wallace estimated the total cost of the project to be about $1.2 million.
An updated version of the city’s park use ordinance was also adopted by the council. Parks Director Heath Stevens said the updated ordinance will provide accountability for those reserving any of the city’s parks. Not only will reserving a park mean its use will be exclusively for those making the reservation, but if any damage is incurred, that party will be responsible.
Another change included in the ordinance will provide transparency in PYAA’s financial status with the city. Stevens said that on June 1 of this year the city will audit the local youth athletics association to ensure all funds collected and spent are accounted for.
In a separate matter, the council approved a motion to advertise for improvement work to one of the four elevated water towers in the city. Wallace said the city has four such tanks, two of which were renovated within the last couple of years. The other two, one at the city barn and the second near Walmart, are in need of maintenance work. Wallace said the city barn’s tower is in the worst shape, so work will take place on it first, with plans to renovate the last tank set for next year.
Since this renovation work will entail sandblasting the tank to the bare metal before repainting, Wallace estimates the work will give the tank another 15 to 20 years of life.
The next council meeting will be March 17 at 2 p.m.

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