Mayor says he will not live to see CNS profits

City officials now admit that what appeared to be the first-ever operating profit for CNS Cable is not accurate.
The Cairo Messenger reported on the preliminary audit report in its Dec. 16 edition. According to Auditor Tom Carmichael of the auditing firm of Bowen, Phillips, Carmichael, Davis & Sims of Tifton, CNS had total revenues of $3,176,000 and expenses of $2,855,000, reflecting a $321,000 operating profit.
However, $422,000 was an audit adjustment, according to Finance Director Miriam Faircloth, for deferred gain on fixed assets sold several years ago to the South Georgia Governmental Services Authority.
According to the city finance director, the audit adjustment combined with increased CNS revenue made it appear on paper the city-owned cable, Internet and telephone service recorded a profit.
Faircloth says approximately $688,000 from the general fund was transferred into CNS last year, and the city has budgeted $670,373 in transfers this year to balance the CNS books.
City Manager Chris Addleton admits CNS is losing money, but he points out that the amount of the loss has been decreasing over the last couple of years.
Mayor Richard VanLandingham was more blunt when he stated Monday, “CNS will not be profitable in my lifetime or yours.”
According to the auditors, the total CNS deficit since it was launched in 2001 stands at $4,690,000.
Addleton says that in 2017, the bonds that were issued to fund the development of CNS will be retired and then CNS can begin to pay back the money that has been transferred from the general fund to keep the system afloat.
“We’ve got to look long term and make some tough decisions. Will we even be in the cable TV business in five or ten years. With the Internet and video streaming, cable could soon be absolute,” the city manager said.
However, he believes it is beneficial for the city to be an Internet and telephone provider.
The city manager says the possibility of selling CNS cable cannot be ruled out, but said it would be difficult to sell unless the other three CNS cities were interested in selling out, too, or buying out Cairo.
Addleton reported to the council Monday that the city passed the 600 subscriber mark for telephone service in December and the total CNS telephone subscriber total stands at 613.

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