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Springfield audit comes back clean

POSTED: July 14, 2014 7:21 p.m.

The city of Springfield received a clean bill of financial health from its auditors Tuesday night.

Richard Deal of Thigpen, Westerfield, Lanier and Deal, a Statesboro accounting firm, presented the city’s audit and said there were no findings and no material weaknesses.

“We didn’t have anything to report this year,” he said. “We had one item from the previous year that was addressed.”

Deal said he wanted to recognize the city’s staff for its work in ensuring there were no deficiencies in material control or in compliance. City Manager Brett Bennett said most of the credit belongs to city accounting clerk Amber Lancaster.

“She does an excellent job,” Deal said. “She really has her act together.”

Deal also praised the city for how much it has in its reserves. The recommended level of reserve is at least three months of operating expenses.

“It’s probably one of the stronger ones I have seen,” he said. “But it’s good to have. You never know when something is going to come up.”

“It’s been a rough four or five years,” said council member Kenny Usher. “The employees of the city have gone above and beyond in keeping expenses down.”

Revenue from impact fees was up, and Bennett said that’s a sign that building is returning in Springfield. The number of water customers has gone up 19 percent from 2012 to 2013, and the number of sewer customers increased nearly 21 percent.

Deal said there are accounts that have accumulated and are past 120 days due, mostly in water and sewer bills. He said his auditors did not write off those unpaid bills. Bennett said some of those are difficult to collect since they are not tied to any property. The city also has used collection agencies in the past, but they wind up paying the agency as much as they get back in collections.

Bennett also said the city using credit cards to take payments for water and sewer bills may cut down on the number of unpaid debts.

“Going to credit cards will allow us to cut off people who write bad checks,” he said.

The city’s assets increased by 5 percent, according to the audit, finishing at $19.3 million. Of that, $13.7 million is in capital assets.

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