Macon improves finances: City receives clean audit for third year

Macon continues to improve its record for financial transparency.
For the third consecutive year, the city received a clean audit from Mauldin & Jenkins, a local auditing firm located in their office on Mulberry Street.
Macon’s financial reputation has not always been so clean.
In 2009 the city was cited for 30 instances of financial controls and fiscal issues in need of improvement.
Last year that number fell to 24, and this fiscal year—which closed on June 30, 2012—the number of cases cited dropped dramatically to a mere six.
According to the official statement released by City Hall, the areas of concern included four cases in the area of financial statement and two cases that were grant-related.
The document specifies that each of the findings were “procedural.”
Jim Gaines from the Telegraph reported in an article from Jan. 9 that the city intends to buckle down on the six findings to improve its financial operations.
Mauldin & Jenkins, per standard auditing procedure, sent a letter to the city along with its official findings.
In the letter, the firm mentions its areas of concern and suggests potential improvements.
Among other suggestions, the letter recommended that the city form a steering committee to handle information technology plans, that the city take pains to review transactions thoroughly and carefully and that a formal deposit policy be put in place to regulate the financial deposits the city is allowed to make.
Federal grant compliance also sent up a warning flag for the auditors, but according to firm partner Miller Edwards there was only one instance of a grant not following requirements.
Despite the six findings in the auditor’s report, Miller Edwards told the city council in a meeting that Macon has made great improvements in its financial operations.
The Telegraph reports that Council President James Timley expressed he was “impressed” with the city’s progress, particularly in the Economic & Community Development Department, which Timley told the Telegraph has been “atrocious in years past.”
Edwards also mentioned to the council that the city is doing well in terms of long-term debt.
The statement released by the city states: “The City has approximately $106 million in total long-term debt, and it has revenue sources to make those payments. This is considerably lower than other Cities this size, and is good for the current City of Macon government and the new, consolidated Macon-Bibb County government.”
Megan McMahon, the city’s Director of Finance, told the Telegraph that the city has already begun to implement at least half of the firm’s suggestions.