City of Minden receives positive audit

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The City of Minden got good news with its annual audit report.

Christine Cole, with Jamison, Wise and Martin CPAs, says the city was issued an unqualified opinion, which means the financial statements were fairly stated in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States.

“For the purpose of this discussion, I’m going to divide the city into two sections,” she said. “There’s two statements, a statement of net position and a statement of activities. The governmental activities of the city encompasses these basic services – police, fire department, parks and recreation, sanitation and health, highway and streets and general administration.”

Property taxes, sales taxes, franchise fees and state and federal grants fund most of the city’s activities, she says.

In the management discussion analysis, the CPA firm reports the city incurred $2.6 million more in expenses than the $10.7 million generated in tax and other revenues.

“This compares to last year, however, when expenses also exceeded revenues by $2.6 million,” according to the report. “In the city’s business-type activities, revenues were comparable to last year, while expenses increased by $1.4 million. The total cost of all of the city’s programs increased by approximately $762,000 with now new programs added this year.”

Cole says there was a decrease in grant funding from last year. According to the report, the city relies heavily on sales taxes.

“Sales taxes account for $5.8 million out of the city’s $10.7 million governmental revenues,” the report indicates.

A chart shows 54 percent reliance on sales taxes, followed closely by charges for services at 14 percent. Charges for services include utilities, water and sewer. Grants and contributions make up about 17 percent of the city’s total budget while franchise taxes are at 3 percent, property taxes are at 4 percent and others at 2 percent.

Cole went through several funds showing where expenses increased, revenues decreased or stayed roughly the same as compared to the 2013 fiscal year.

The audit report did reveal some findings, or issues the city must address. One condition is noted as, “As of September 30, 2014, the city had approximately $308,059 in deposits with a local bank, which were not adequately secured” as required by law. Auditors recommended management monitor its bank balances to ensure “that bank balances in excess of federal depository insurance are adequately secured.”

The second finding regards public bid law requirements. In their audit, auditors found two instances where the city did not comply with public bid law – where the city paid $12,659 for 2,200 gallons of caustic soda and the paid $156,625 to repair a turbine. In the first finding, no quotes were obtained for the purchase, and in the second finding, the public works project was not let for bid.

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