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Audit: City spent less in ’08

The City of Greenville spent less money in fiscal year 2008 then it did the year before, according to an independent audit prepared by Branum & Co.

City spending decreased by nearly $2.5 million in 2008, the audit stated, totaling $11.5 million. City expenditures were $14 million in fiscal year 2007.

The city’s debt service in outstanding bonds and warrants is $15.6 million. State statutes limit the amount of funds government municipalities can borrow, setting a maximum of 20 percent against its total assets during a fiscal year. The city’s outstanding debt was 7.4 percent as of Sept. 30, 2008, well within the debt limits, according to the audit. The city will pay $1.6 million, including principal and interest, in debt in 2009.

Mayor Dexter McLendon and council members were pleased with the audit.

“I think if we had not acted as we did a few years ago to help bring jobs into Butler County we would not be seeing such a strong audit,” McLendon said. “Sometimes you have to spend money to make money.”

Noted in the audit:

Sales tax collections for fiscal year 2008 were $6,014,830 compared to $6,061,214, a difference of $46,384. Sales taxes comprised 52 percent of the total revenue for the city.

However, the audit stated sales and use taxes came in below the budgeted amount by $617,670, citing the weakened economy as a possible reason as well as the closure of commercial establishments such as Old Mexico and McDonalds during portions of 2008.

2008 marked the first time sales taxes in the city had declined since 2003.

Property taxes were $1.3 million, an increase of 13 percent over the previous year. Building permits, licenses and fees generated $1 million for the city in fiscal year 2008.