Re­port: City fi­nances do­ing well

The Covington News - - NEWS - HEZEKIAH RODGERS news@cov­

For a long time, the city of Cov­ing­ton has led not only the state of Ge­or­gia, but also the na­tion in fi­nances and devel­op­ment, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by au­di­tors Mauldin and Jenk­ins.

The firm of Mauldin and Jenk­ins LLC pre­sented its 2014 through 2015 au­dit re­port dur­ing Mon­day’s city coun­cil meet­ing, telling the coun­cil “you have a fi­nan­cial state­ment that some other cities would just covet.”

Miller Ed­wards, who was in charge of Cov­ing­ton’s au­dit, re­ported to the coun­cil that there is enough money in the general fund to keep the city run­ning for two or three years if rev­enues would com­pletely stop.

There is $27 mil­lion worth of fund bal­ance in the general fund and the city, Ed­wards said, typ­i­cally has $10 or $11 mil­lion in rev­enues each year.

“The general fund is in great shape,” Ed­wards said.

The au­dit also showed that the state of the city’s util­i­ties is some­thing to be ad­mired. Ed­wards said one of the most no­tice­able things about the city’s util­ity in­fra­struc­ture is that while it has pro­fes­sional peo­ple in the field, man­age­ment and on the city coun­cil keep­ing things in top shape, the util­i­ties depart­ment is a suc­cess­ful busi­ness en­abling rein­vest­ment into the city.

“If you’re go­ing to be sel­f­re­liant and not go in the bond mar­ket, you have to have good pos­i­tive cash flows to rein­vest in them­selves,” Ed­wards said. The util­i­ties pro­vide fund­ing back into the general fund. You have a re­ally nice situation in the city and it’s been that way for a long time, and it looks good.”

One of the few things Ed­wards said the city did have to look out for was the change to the pen­sion funds, and that these changes needed to be ac­counted for in the city’s books go­ing for­ward. These changes are cen­tered on Other Post-Em­ploy­ment Ben­e­fits, also known as OPEB. While pen­sions are cur­rently ac­counted for in the cities books, OPEB is not, which may cause some un­ac­counted for fund­ing is­sues fur­ther down the road.

Tax abate­ments were also high­lighted. Ac­cord­ing to Ed­wards these abate­ments can ac­cu­mu­late a lot of in­ter­est, which should be ac­counted for. A fig­ure for the cur­rent and fi­nal value of these abate­ments is.

As a fi­nal state­ment, Miller Ed­wards said, “You do have a lot of things go­ing [for Cov­ing­ton] that a lot of other cities don’t have” and that the city had a “spec­tac­u­lar last year.”

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