City of Bamberg receives a Qualified Opinion on audit

The City of Bamberg received a “Qualified Opinion” on its June 30, 2010 year-end audit. CPA H. Del Brown of McGregor & Co., LLP of Barnwell told Bamberg City Council members at their July meeting, the reason the City of Bamberg was issued a qualified opinion as opposed to an “unqualified opinion” like in previous year, was based on a new Governmental Accounting Standards Board Statement (45) his auditing firm could not get a handle on the amount of “liabilities out there” in terms of insurance and all other post employment liabilities for retirees. Brown described the new accounting standard as “extremely complicated” and other municipalities incurred the same problem.

Brown noted the City’s 2010 audit was “exactly as in 2009” and was “materially correct” except for the unknown liabilities in retirees insurance. He noted the City had decrease in assets in 2009 of $146,000 and in 2010 of $185,000. Expenditures in the general fund exceeded appropriations by $31,000 and the City has $257,000 in long term debt.

Brown listed the total net assets of the City at $2, 593,000 as of July 31, 2010. Of that total $1.7 million were investments in capital assets and were not “liquid assets.” The City was left with actual unrestricted assets of $881,000. The Governmental Funds account recorded deficit for the year of $82,000. With liabilities of $325,000 the City was left with $783,000 in unreserved fund balance that was “pretty much liquid.” With a 10 percent loss of the budget in one year the $700,000 is “starting to be eaten away.”

City of Bamberg Clerk/Treasurer Bruce Watson noted after Brown’s presentation the City’s net assets were good and assets exceeded liabilities, but when it came to revenues vs. expenses there was a trend that you see in other towns. “Revenue is not keeping up with expenditures,” Watson said. Adding, “We’re spending more than we are receiving, due to the economy and what the state has done to us. Our net assets keep going south. You see it everywhere.”

Also during the meeting:

• Council held a public hearing in which no comments were made an gave approval concerning an Ordinance (11-3) to rezone approximately 2.8 acres of property of Fasina Faust-Moore from residential to highway commercial which would include retail businesses or stores. The property said to be located off Zeigler Street and fronting Rail Road Ave.

• In the budget and finance report Clerk Watson said the City needed to watch its expenditures with expenses exceeding revenues by $66,000 in the year end budget report. Watson noted that at one point in preparing this year’s budget the City was $150,000 “out” noting that it would have been hard to balance the budget without the help of the Board of Public Works. He said the citizens could face 625 mills in taxes the next two years.