For the third consecutive year, Macon received a clean report from local auditing firm Mauldin & Jenkins.
While auditors found half a dozen instances of financial controls needing improvement, thats down significantly from 24 last year and 30 in 2009, according to the firms Miller Edwards.
I think this year there were a lot of strides made, he told City Council on Tuesday evening during a non-voting work session.
Edwards took council members through the comprehensive annual financial report and annual compliance audit reports for fiscal 2012, which ended this past June 30.
The auditors unqualified opinion came with more good news about basic city financial health: Macon has total assets of $179 million versus liabilities of $116 million, the report says.
The city of Macon doesnt really have a lot of long-term debt, Edwards said, leaving local government in much better shape than many other cities.
While the city took in $55 million in taxes this past fiscal year, it spent $57 million.
That doesnt alarm me, Edwards said, noting that the city expected that imbalance and had the money to cover it.
Mayor Robert Reichert said the $2 million deficit came from a one-time payout to city pension plans, repaying a previous 18 months worth of underfunding.
Both city pension funds -- for police and firefighters and for general employees -- are very well funded, Edwards said. Theyre in much better shape than most other urban governments in the country, he said.
In the past fiscal year, Macon saw property tax revenue decline along with home values, but sales tax receipts rose, outstripping property taxes for the second straight year, $20.9 million to $18.1 million, according to a Dec. 10 letter from city finance officials.
About $7 million in federal dollars came through five major city programs, and only one of those -- a Homeland Security grant -- didnt comply with documentation requirements, Edwards said. He reiterated that thats much better than in previous years.
In basic financial operations, theres still a problem with too few eyes watching transactions in the city Finance Departments accounts receivable division, Edwards said. But in prior years, that problem existed in two additional departments.
Your management has been proactive in resolving these matters, Edwards said.
Even so, the audit report notes that the same problem has popped up in every audit since 2006.
The failure to have proper segregation of duties could lead to undetected misappropriation of funds or delays in finding potential fraud, the report says.
Councilwoman Beverly K. Olson asked if more people are needed in the Finance Department to solve that segregation-of-duties problem, which has existed for years.
Thats hard to say, Edwards replied. Often such risks can be cut by dividing and reassigning duties among existing staff.
Among lesser problems found by auditors were blunders in judging the value of airport leases, requiring their total value to be cut by $43,258; failure to record $144,671 due from the Bibb County tax assessor; and a misassigned lease in the Solid Waste Management fund worth $279,769, auditors found.
They also said some city offices and city-connected entities, including the Economic & Community Development Department, Workforce Development, police grants administration and the management company that handles airport fund grants, have little to no oversight from the Finance Department, and their finances werent being reviewed.
Finally, the audit report tallies a long list of minor record-keeping problems, most of which have since been resolved, city finance officials reported.
To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.