In This Weeks Edition: 03-10-2010

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BPW receives ‘clean audit’

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

The Bamberg Board of Public Works received a clean report on its June 30 2009 audit at a special meeting of the Board of Commissioners held on March 2. According to Del Brown of the Barnwell–based McGregor and Company, the city-owned utility company received “a clean report on all aspects” of its independent auditor’s report. “I have nothing bad to tell you, it is an unqualified opinion, a clean opinion and materially correct,” Brown said.

In giving a summary of the audit, Brown said the BPW had total assets of just above $26 million with liabilities of about $1.38 million, which brings the company’s net assets to approximately $25 million.

He stated that even though $25 million “sounds like a lot of money” he pointed out that $18.554 million is tied up in fixed assets such as capital assets, property and equipment and a small note that is owed. He said that $172,000 is “restricted money” in investments, bank accounts, customer deposits and an Iron Removable Stability note the BPW has which leaves the company with an unrestricted balance of $6.2 million.

Again Brown said $6.2 million “sounds like a big number.” The total operating expenses’ for the BPW was $8.8 million for one year including depreciations (no cash lost) of approximately $1.4 million and a cash payout to operate of about $7.5 million for one year. Without the depreciations the BPW recorded a profit of $220,000 for the year.

Bamberg Clerk/Treasurer Bruce Watson asked Brown if other utility companies would consider raising their rates and fees to cover the cost of depreciations. “Would most people try to increase their rates and fees and what not to cover these depreciations because one day it’s going to run out," Watson asked.

Brown stated that if BPW customers' rates were increased to cover depreciations the company would no longer have the lowest rates in the state. “Youwould have close to the highest,” Brown said. “The way we look at it, a good positive cash flow and building up that unrestricted balance is the way to go.”

BPW Manager Bruce Ellis said that bad debts are the reason the company charges new customers a deposit." That's why we charge a $100 deposit to protect the people who pay their bills. The money is held in an escrow account it’s their money,” Ellis said.

Near the end of the audit report Commissioner Buddy Sandifer, who noted that this was his first audit as a Commissioner asked Brown how he would rate the performance of the BPW and its management.

“From A-C, I would probably give it a grade of A,” Brown said.

Bamberg Welcomes New Postmaster

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

“I’m just glad to be here in Bamberg. I’m here to serve the community and make customers happy,” said Bamberg's new Postmaster. Linda G. McMichael was introduced Tuesday morning as the new Postmaster of the Bamberg Post Office. Wasting no time, McMichael a veteran of 23 years in the postal service announced the new hours of operation of the Bamberg Post Office.

“I’ve been hearing a lot about the hours of the post office, so starting Saturday March 13, the hours are going to change,” McMichael said. McMichael stated that the post office new hours would be:
Saturday: 9:30 a.m.- 11:00 a.m.
Monday-Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (Closed 1 hour for lunch) 2:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Postmaster Linda G. McMichael is originally from Chicago Illinois and lived in Orangeburg for the last 14 years. She was an intercity carrier in Orangeburg for 10 years and went into management two years ago. McMichael said that she found out about the opening in the Bamberg Post Office and applied for the job and her plans are to be the Postmaster in Bamberg until she retires which is in 15 years.

The introduction of the new Bamberg Postmaster was held in commemoration of National Consumer Protection Week. District postal officials were on hand to provide customers with valuable information about USPS products and services along with information to warn against identity theft, fraudulent schemes, and protecting their financial assets from these types of crimes.