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Oxford’s assets worth almost $230 million; audit shows few deficiencies

While to many, there’s no way to measure the true value of their hometown, on paper Oxford is worth almost $230 million.

According to the recently released audit of the city government, Oxford’s governmental and public assets were worth $229,497,252 million at the end of 2017, up from $214,021 million in 2016.

The city’s liabilities increased as well, from $102 million in 2016 to $106 million in 2017.

The assets of the city exceeded its liabilities by $126 million.

As of Sept. 30, 2017, when the fiscal year ends, the city of Oxford’s governmental funds reported combined ending fund balances of $563,888,403, an increase of $11,962,528 in comparison to 2016. Approximately 20 percent of the combined fund balances, or $12,939,788 is considered unassigned and is available for spending at the Board of Aldermen’s discretion.

Most of the assets, 68 percent, 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 $47,086,468. New debt in the amount of $7.5 million was issued in 2017 fiscal year for the construction of the new activity center building and $4.6 million was repaid during the year.

The largest funding sources for the city come from charging for services, like water and sewer, which brings in 24 percent of the revenue. Property taxes bring in 21 percent and sales tax brings in 21 percent of the revenue. The largest expense is public safety – $13 million and includes fire and police protection. About $9.2 million in expenses comes from the Public Works Department for roads and water and sewer infrastructure.

The city’s 2016 -17 general fund operating budget increased by approximately $865,432 during the 2017 fiscal year. This increase was primarily related to increases in expenditures that are related to capital projects and personnel expenses. The city’s tax millage increased from 29.22 mills to 30.22 mills from 2016 to 2017.

The audit was conducted by Franks, Franks, Jarrell & Wilemon, P.A., who started doing the city’s audit in 2013.

The audit noted no major weaknesses; however, it did note seven areas of material instances of noncompliance on financial statements that included three significant deficiencies: having budget overages in some expense categories; distributing funds in excess of cash reserves for two debt service funds; and instances of court fine tickets being remanded to file or retired to file by the issuing police officer without evidence of approval by the judge.

The city responded to each finding with ways to correct the issues.

The audit will be presented for approval by the Oxford Board of Aldermen on Tuesday at City Hall.