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Audit reveals city’s financial health

A draft of the city’s audited financial statements for the year ended June 30, 2016 was presented to the mayor and council Monday night.
The document shows that the city collected higher than projected revenues for the year, expenses were lower than budgeted, but long-term debt inched up slightly.
Auditor Tom Carmichael of Carr, Riggs & Ingram gave an overview of the audit to the council finance committee and then later to the full city council.
The city’s long-term debt stood at $18,946,000 as of June 30, up slightly from $18,524,000 on June 30, 2015.
The city collected nearly $100,000 more in property taxes than budgeted and also collected more in sales and other taxes than projected. Revenue from fines and forfeitures was down $23,000 from 2015, according to Carmichael.
Revenue from the sale of electricity topped $21,190,000 up $623,000 from 2015 sales of $20,567,000 while at the same time expenses dropped from $14,541,000 in 2015 to $14,408,000 in 2016 resulting in operating income of $6,782,000.
The city transferred $4,080,000 in profit from the electric fund to other funds to balance the city’s budget.
The water and sewer fund  received $1,756,000 in transfers to overcome an operating loss of $115,000. Although water and sewer revenues were up over 2015, expenses remained higher than the fund’s revenues.
The city is in the process of attempting to sell its interest in CNS cable, a deal which should be finalized by the end of 2016, but as of June 30 the city continued to lose money on the cable TV fund, but significantly less than in 2015.
CNS revenue for 2016 was $3,161,000 up from $2,953,000 in 2015. Revenues dropped from $3,788,000 in 2015 to $3,226,000 which cut the city’s operating loss from $835,000 in 2015 to only $65,000 in 2016.
During the council finance committee meeting Monday afternoon, Finance Committee Chairman Councilman James H. (Jimmy) Douglas noted that since its creation CNS owes $9,360,000 to other city funds.
Cairo city manager Chris Addleton said the city is expected to recoup $4.5 million from the sale of assets as part of the CNS consolidation and an estimated $450,000 annually for 10 years.
Douglas said he doesn’t anticipate all that has been invested in CNS will ever be paid back.
Carmichael told city leaders this week that no significant findings had been found in the audit process and stated that the city’s finances are in good order.
The final audit will be presented to the council for its approval at its Dec. 12 council meeting.

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