Morgan City accepts audit report
By: GEOFFREY STOUTE
MORGAN CITY — The city received a clean audit report on its 2010 budget, one in which it bolstered its revenues and trimmed its expenditures in the face of rising costs.
Gerald Thibodeaux of Kolder, Champagne, Slaven & Co. in Morgan City delivered that message during his report at Tuesday’s council meeting.
Overall, the city turned a $770,000 profit after recording deficits of $3.2 million in 2008 and $2.2 million in the red in 2009.
The swing from last year to this year’s balance was about a $3 million jump.
It was achieved, Thibodeaux said, by increasing utility fees to customers and monitoring expenditures, which fell by $45,000 (0.13 percent) from 2009.
“Absent the rate increase that came about in 2009, we were staring some really tough times right in the face,” Thibodeaux told the mayor and council.
Overall, revenues in 2010 were up $2.6 million (8.2 percent) with 85 percent of that increase coming in the utility sectors.
Charges for these services were up about $2.2 million or nearly 10 percent, because of the rate increase.
“That’s (2010) the first year that we realized those revenues,” he said, which increased, on average, utility bills for residential and commercial customers by about $28.
From 2009 to 2010, the city’s revenues also increased in tax collections, donations and other non-operating revenue, while licenses and permits fees dipped slightly. Intergovernmental and other operating revenue remained about the same as 2009.
Sales and ad valorem taxes increased by about $470,000 or 7.2 percent.
“Sales taxes were kind of unexpected but welcomed,” Thibodeaux said.
However, licenses and permits slipped by about $100,000.
As for expenditures, general government, public safety, public works, culture and recreation experienced a combined decrease in expenses by about $4,000, while debt service and capital outlay combined experienced about a $295,000 decrease.
Depreciation expenses stayed nearly the same.
However, the city’s utility costs increased by about $293,000 in 2010.
Still, the city managed to decreased its costs by a combined $45,000, which Mayor Tim Matte noted was achieved even though the city had to fund an additional $483,000 in retirement costs during the year. Matte said the city paid for those by taking from other line items, specifically capital outlay.
The flat expenditures are something Thibodeaux said is rare for auditors to see.
“We haven’t seen that in the past 10 years,” he said. “Those expenditures have been creeping up and up and up everywhere that we’ve been.”
Specifically, Thibodeaux highlighted the city Utility Systems’ operating results in 2010, which rebounded from a $2 million-plus deficits during 2009 and 2010 into a $538,737 profit during the past year, or $770,000 more than in 2009.
The increase, Thibodeaux said, also is due to the utility fee increase.
Thibodeaux also reported that deficiencies on two internal controls and two related to federal programs from 2009 were remedied in 2010.