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Springfield OKs budget, auditor contract

POSTED: December 16, 2013 8:21 p.m.

The firm hired to perform the city of Springfield’s 2012 audit will be retained for next year’s review of the city’s finances.


City council members approved a contract Tuesday night with Thigpen, Lanier, Westerfield and Deal to handle the fiscal year 2013 audit. The city’s fiscal year ends Dec. 31. Council members agreed to a contract not to exceed $25,000.


“We want to get a jump start on this,” City Manager Brett Bennett said.


Council members also expressed their satisfaction with the recently-completed audit, which was presented to council members Tuesday.


“I appreciate the professionalism shown by your firm,” Kenny Usher said to firm partner Richard Deal.


The audit’s findings revealed only one significant deficiency, a disagreement on utility billings’ accounts receivable to other ledgers.


“It’s a problem in how the system is set up and how they were getting posted to the general ledger,” Deal said.


Deal added the audit showed the city is in good financial condition with its fund balance.


“It’s a pretty good audit, and it’s pretty thorough,” said Mayor Barton Alderman.


Finding only one problem, Alderman added, “brings a smile to all our faces.”


“It’s been a lot of fun coming down here and working with y’all,” said Kay Proctor, a certified public accountant with the firm. “We appreciate the opportunity.”


The city council also approved the fiscal year 2014 budget, which calls for nearly $1.96 million in spending. The largest share, in excess of $548,000, will be directed toward streets and lanes. The police department is receiving more than $470,000, and the fire department will receive more than $315,000 in funding.


Revenues are expected to match expenditures at $1.957 million. Proceeds from the local option sales tax are pegged at $403,000 and property taxes will bring in about $197,000, a decrease of almost 7 percent from the previous fiscal year. Franchise taxes will bring $165,000, and the city also is expecting $300,000 in transportation enhancement grant funds.


The city’s water and sewer budget is $1.1 million, with sewer fees expected to bring in $650,000 and water fees to bring in $406,000.


The special purpose local option sales tax budget is $1.36 million. Prior year reserves will account for $1.1 million of that total, and the city expects to spend more than $590,000 on water and sewer projects. Streets and lanes will take up another $378,000, and parks and recreation will account for nearly $288,000.


Council member Kenny Usher praised the city’s staff last month for the budget.


“This budget has come together as well as any budget I’ve seen since I’ve been on council,” he said.


Bennett, in turn, lauded city accounting clerk Amber Lancaster.


“Amber has been on top of it this year,” he said.


The city of Springfield and the Springfield Merchants Association will hold a tree lighting ceremony Wednesday from 7-8 p.m. The tree is at Laurel Street and Highway 119, across from Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.

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