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franklin county times

City finances get OK from auditors

By By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
March 28, 2001
After a review of city finances for fiscal year 2000, an independent auditing firm has given the city a passing grade and praise for its financial and record-keeping policies.
At a specially convened meeting of the Meridian City Council Tuesday, representatives from the Deloitte and Touche firm informed city officials of their findings.
Under state law, the city council is required to hire auditors annually to check the city's bookkeeping practices.
The firm's presentation showed the city spent 38 percent of its $25 million general fund on public safety during fiscal year 2000, and 16 percent on debt service.
City officials were pleased the report showed the city's bonded debt per person ratio continued to shrink during fiscal year 2000. The ratio peeked in 1998 at $461 per person required for pay off of debt; in fiscal year 2000 the rate fell to $436 per person.
Representatives of the accounting firm said Meridian is one of only six cities in the state to receive a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.
Although most of the news was good for city officials, auditors did recommend that the city produce a training program and manuals for vital positions inside city government.
Firm representatives suggested the city do so because many "key" city personnel were approaching retirement age. A manual and training program could bring new employees up to speed with city practices and job requirements quicker, according to the firm.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at balexander@themeridianstar.com.