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|Monroe audit shows small surplus, findings|
An annual external audit report for the city of Monroe will show the city has another budget surplus, but there are several findings that concern Mayor Jamie Mayo.
The audit will be discussed Thursday, Nov. 13, at the city council's regular meeting. The city council normally meets on the second Tuesday of a month. Tuesday's meeting was postponed due to Veteran's Day.
For the fourth consecutive year, the city's annual audit will show a budget surplus. This year, the amount of that surplus is $157,995.
The 2007-2008 fiscal year budget surplus represents the sixth budget surplus in the past seven years for the city of Monroe. Mayo has been mayor six of those seven years.
Last fiscal year, the city had a budget surplus of $5.8 million.
Mayo said the 2007-2008 fiscal year budget surplus could have been more than $1 million, but the city put more money into its economic development fund and capital equipment fund.
"Our goal is to have a $10-million fund balance surplus, and we have more than that with about $12 million," Mayo said. "We're not looking to pad our surplus, but rather see what opportunities we have to buy new equipment and fund other areas where we have needs."
"I'm very pleased with the fiscal aspect of the city," Mayo continued. "We're financially strong and sound and in the best shape we've ever been in. Most cities envy the financial situation Monroe is in."
"We've come a long way in a short period of time," he added.
While the city is financially sound, Mayo said there were some findings from the audit that concern him. He declined to go into detail about those findings, but he said there were several that deal with the Monroe Civic Center.
Mayo also said an issue with overtime pay within the community affairs department was a finding during the audit of the 2007-2008 fiscal year.
That issue recently was a subject of a joint-investigation by The Ouachita Citizen and KNOE-TV8 News.
A new city policy was proposed to correct the issue of overtime pay for salaried workers.
Overall, Mayo said he is pleased with the audit, but he wants to move quickly to correct the problems found so they will not be repeated.
"Our goal is to have a surplus and no findings every year," Mayo explained. "We've not been able to reach that goal with the findings. These findings consist of things that have happened internally, and they do concern me. We're trying to immediately address those findings so they don't happen again."
However, the fact that the city is already six months into its current fiscal year may mean the audit of the 2008-2009 fiscal year could show the same findings.
During the Thursday, Nov. 13, city council meeting, external auditors will give an official report on the audit, including discussions about the surplus and any findings the city of Monroe has for the fiscal year 2007-2008.