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City receives ‘clean audit’

The City of Greenville recently received a clean audit by Branum & Company, P.C. for the fiscal year ending on Sept. 30, 2015.

“Everything was in line,” said Glenn Branum, who presented the findings of the audit to the Greenville City Council on Monday night. “Everything was fairly stated. The records were in good shape. We didn’t see any problems.”

The audit did reveal the city finished the fiscal year with a deficit of nearly $2 million in its General Fund, however, Branum said that number is deceiving.

“Did we spend more than we took in? No. It’s because of the way the accounting rules work,” he said. “In the General Fund we have a negative balance of $1.98 million. The reason that is a negative is that under accounting rules, short-term borrowings are not recognized as revenue, but the corresponding expenditures are recognized as expenditures.”

Last year, the city borrowed $3.9 million to purchase the old Walmart property located in the Interstate Plaza Shopping Center and to complete work on Mary Drive.

“Whenever that is converted into long-term debt, it will go into revenue,” Branum said. “It’s just a quirky accounting rule for governmental entities. If that were long-term debt, instead of a negative $1.98 million, it would be a positive $2 million.”

McLendon said the city is working toward converting that bond to long-term debt.

“All of this has to do with Zaxby’s and what we’re waiting on with that property,” said Mayor Dexter McLendon. “That’s why we haven’t already done something.”

In November, the city announced it would sell a portion of property in the Interstate Plaza shopping center to LA Cluckers Holdings, LLC for $450,000. That property, located in front of Citi Trends, was expected to become home to Zaxby’s.

Earlier this month, McLendon told members of the Rotary Club of Greenville that Zaxby’s officials still plan to locate a restaurant in the Camellia City, but that snags along the way have slowed the process.

McLendon assured Rotarians that the snags were just temporary.

“The good thing about it is, the Zaxby’s people told us the other day that they are coming to Greenville,” McLendon said. “The reason they want to come to Greenville is because they know how hard we have worked on it. So, Zaxby’s is coming. The question is when and where.”

The audit also showed that sales and use tax, the city’s largest revenue source, increased $341,120 during the fiscal year. The increase is in part attributed to the opening of Wintzell’s Oyster House and Johnson Furniture and the expansion of Ozark Materials.

McLendon said he was pleased with the findings of the report and credited the city’s department heads for their roles in helping the city achieve a clean audit.

On Monday, the council approved a payment of $27,940 to Branum and Company for its work in preparing the financial audit.