Council to review city’s latest clean audit

Members of the Biloxi City Council will get a briefing on the latest audit of city finances Tuesday morning, and Chief Administrative Officer David Nichols says it will be a mixed bag of numbers.

“The important thing is that there were no irregularities, or what the auditors call exceptions or findings,” Nichols said of the FY 2012 audit, which was performed by the firm Piltz, Williams, LaRosa & Co. “This is a clean audit. It says we are following procedures and doing things the way they ought to be done, by the book.”

However, the report – which provides a snapshot of city finances from Oct. 1, 2011 to Sept. 30, 2012 – showed that the city spent more money than it had taken in during that time frame, a recurring issue that has reduced the city’s general fund balance in recent years.

The general fund had expenditures of $55 million in FY 2012, with revenue of $52 million, from three primary sources: $19 million from gaming taxes; $10 million from property taxes; and $11 million from sales taxes. The difference in revenue and expenses was covered by the city’s general fund balance.

“This report on Tuesday will discuss where we stood on Sept. 30, 2012, which, of course, is almost 10 months ago,” Nichols said. “Since that time, we have 40 fewer employees, and we’ve continued to curb expenses. In fact, our annual expenses are closer to our annual revenue than they have been in a long time.”

Councilmembers will be given a detailed review in the meeting Tuesday, which begins at 11 a.m. at City Hall.

Incidentally, Bilox’s financial statements, known as a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, are on the verge of being awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the 10th year in a row. The
Government Finance Officers Association, a national group, presents the award to qualifying agencies. Said Nichols: “That’s a great accomplishment.”

See the documents for yourself

The letter: One of the key components of a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report is the “Letter of Transmittal,” in which management provides an analysis of finance issues and uses easy-to-read charts to show decade-long trends in revenues, construction and development. To go directly to the nine-page Letter of Transmittal,
click here.

The complete CAFR: To see the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for 2012, a 137-page document that includes the auditor’s report, click here.

More on finances: To see a wide variety of city financial information – budgets for previous years, breakdowns on gaming and sales tax revenue and previous CAFRs –
click here.