Meadville FY 2022 finances inspected

by Sean Dunlap

Nothing out of the ordinary was found during a recently “compiled” look at the Town of Meadville’s fiscal year 2022 financial statements.

Certified Public Accountant Bernell McGehee said in his firm’s formal examination of municipal books there are four levels of assurance, from lowest to highest — prepared, compiled, reviewed and audited.

“As far as the financial statement numbers go, I’ve compiled, which is allowed for a small town of this size to do that,” McGehee said.

“The state auditor’s office and the law require certain things they specifically want me to look at through agreed upon procedures.”

The CPA told aldermen during their Tuesday, Nov. 8 monthly business meeting that the combined balance sheets for Meadville’s governmental fund and its proprietary (water and sewer) fund appeared to be in order.

For the budget year ending on Sept. 30, Meadville’s governmental funds, which included areas such as cash on hand and reserved cash, stood at $744,750 with liabilities and fund equity totaling the same.

The proprietary fund had assets of $644,013 with matching liabilities and fund equity based on McGehee’s compilation report.

“You had a total of $1,388,763 in combined assets for fiscal year 2022 following these particular accounting procedures and that was up from $1,336,260 during the previous fiscal year,” McGehee said. “This does not count the assets your governmental fund has.”

As far as its governmental fund balance goes, Meadville had revenues — from areas such as ad valorem taxes, licenses, permits and intergovernmental transfers — that totaled $701,460.

The town expended $571,845 to cover its costs in offering general governmental services, public safety and infrastructure repairs and improvements.

Meadville finished FY 2022 in the black to the tune of $129,615, which, when combined with an existing fund balance of $593,863 carried over from the previous fiscal year, gives the town a new fund balance of $723,478.

McGehee also pointed out the water and sewer fund saw an increase in revenue to $271,447 in the most recent fiscal year — up from $257,254 in FY 2021.

However, operational expenses for water and sewer climbed to $336,352, which was higher than the $237,577 that was reported during the previous budget year.

In terms of the bottom line for the town’s water and sewer fund, Meadville had retained earning of $523,101 for FY 2022, which was down $10,927 from the $534,028 reported at the end of FY 2021.
Related to outstanding indebtedness on the books, McGehee said large chunks of what the municipality owes for water and wastewater infrastructure improvements is on track to be paid off during FY 2023 or FY 2024.

Meadville is currently paying down debts to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality on a loan for a sewer lift station and a United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development water tank loan.

Also in regards to the town’s finances, McGehee said his firm had reconciled municipal bank accounts and had traced tax levies and the distribution of those funds with no irregularities found.

The review also had no issues with purchases made by the town as well as collections of fines and forfeitures.

Among recommendations offered by McGehee to address potential deficiencies with the town’s accounting practices in the future:

• Creating two separate bank accounts related to the town’s fire fund, which receives money from the state through its “rebate” initiative as well as dollars through a quarter-mill tax assessment on property owners.

“You already keep the money separated and discuss it routinely, but it could lessen potential confusion to have this in two different accounts,” McGehee said.

Town leaders took the recommendation under advisement with town attorney Will Halford to study the matter and report back to aldermen in a future meeting.

• Asked town leaders to address Mississippi Code Section 21-17-5, which requires aldermen have bonds equal to 5 percent of the sum of all municipal taxes shown by the assessment rolls and levies to have been collected in the municipality for the immediate preceding year.

“By my calculations, (aldermen) bonds should have been about $7,400, but your bonds were for $6,000,” McGehee said.

Mayor Lane B. Reed said he has asked the town’s insurance provider to look at increasing the bond coverage for aldermen as recommended.

The board voted 3-0 — with Aldermen Charles Calcote and David Scarbrough not present — to accept McGehee’s findings and to increase bond coverage for town elected leaders.

Two copies of the report will be forwarded to the state auditor’s office, as is required by statute.

Those residents wishing to review the complete FY 2022 financial compilation can do so at Meadville Town Hall.

In other action, the Meadville Board of Aldermen took up these pieces of business:

• Authorized the filing of the 2022 public depositor’s annual report for Meadville with the state auditor.

• Heard a comprehensive presentation related to the town’s property and liability coverage from Hal Graves of FBBInsurance.

The board voted to move forward with Graves’ coverage proposal after considering a pair of competing plans from two providers.

• No action was taken on the town’s efforts to fill the vacancy for a certified water and sewer operator.

The town has 180 days to have an operator in place and began the effort to have someone to take that slot last month.

• Discussed repairs to the town’s fire truck following a tire blowout that damaged the vehicle’s wheel well.

The town’s insurance deductible is $1,000 with the cost of repair parts totaling more than $930, but that amount does not include labor costs.

Halford recommended the town get a quote on the labor expense before taking any action to fix the truck.

• Reed discussed repair proposals as opposed to replacement costs for the town’s “long-arm” tractor that is used at the municipality’s sewer lagoon, but the panel took no action on the matter.

• Town Clerk Leslie Thompson noted there were 11 past-due water and sewer accounts for October, and no new water deposits were received.

• The Meadville Fire Department responded to two fire calls during the previous month.

• The Meadville Police Department had one arrest and several shoplifting-related affidavits from Dollar General.

The next Meadville Board of Aldermen meeting is set for 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 13 at Meadville Town Hall.