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Oxford’s audit shows no major deficiencies

While Oxford’s population continues to grow, so does its government services and facilities, making Oxford worth a pretty penny on paper.
According to the recently released audit of the city government, Oxford’s governmental and public assets are worth $214 million, up from $206 million in 2015.
The city’s liabilities increased as well, from $96 million in 2015 to $120 million in 2016.
The assets of the city exceeded its liabilities by $120 million. About $45 million of the liabilities is the unfunded portion of the state public retirement fund.

Balance up more than $4M
As of Sept. 30, 2016, when the fiscal year ends, the city of Oxford’s governmental funds reported combined ending fund balances of $51,925,875, an increase of $4,168,273 in comparison to 2015. Approximately 21 percent of the combined fund balances, or $10,787,432 is considered unassigned and is available for spending at the Board of Aldermen’s discretion.
Most of the assets consist of capital assets — buildings, machinery, equipment, and infrastructure, less any related debt used to acquire those assets that are still outstanding.The city’s total debt is $44,245,349. About $33 million is in general obligation bonds and $7.2 million is in promissory notes. The city’s total debt went down in 2016 from $47,213,912 in 2015.
The largest funding sources for the city come from charging for services, like water and sewer, which brings in 23 percent of the revenue. Property taxes bring in 20 percent and sales tax brings in 21 percent of the revenue. The largest expense is public safety, which is 33 percent of expenses and includes fire and police protection. About 22 percent of expenses comes from the Public Works Department for roads and water and sewer infrastructure.
The audit was conducted by Franks, Franks, Jarrell & Wilemon, P.A., who started doing the city’s audit in 2013 after the aldermen decided they wanted a more complete, thorough audit done of the city’s accounting procedures.
Accountant Bryon Wilemon presented the audit to the Board of Aldermen last week during a work session. Wilemon said the audit is a great improvement from the first one his company did in 2013 when about 13 critical issues were found.
“Most of those have been rectified,” he said. “This time we only noted five areas.”
The audit noted five areas of material instances of noncompliance on financial statements that include: failure to conduct an annual inventory observation of fixed assets; the city depreciation schedule has several assets that were approved for removal, however they could not be removed from the depreciation schedule due to lack of adequate descriptions; they city did not obtain quotes for two purchases during the year; some departments went over budget; and the city failed to ensure all bank accounts were covered under the State Treasurer Pool.
Prior to 2013, the city deposits for the water and sewer fund were put into the same account as the electric fund. Since then, the city has developed a system to adequately segregate the meter deposits between the two funds; however it takes a couple of years for everything to integrate, so it still appeared on the audit as a deficiency.
The audit reported no major findings.
“The city has come a long way,” Wilemon said.