There’s a lot to like in the City of Morenci’s financial picture, said auditor Philip Rubley, but for the third year in a row there’s a deficit in the general fund.
“That’s the bad news of the night,” Rubley said before giving positive reports on other aspects of the city budget.
“You reduced the budget by about $18,000 in the last two years,” he said, “so you’re headed in the right direction.”
Rubley’s audit for the year ending June 30, 2007, found a deficit of $32,776. The city will be required to submit a deficit reduction plan to the state.
Council member Keith Pennington hinted that the situation has improved in the past six months.
“This report is for our fiscal year,” he said. “It does not account for anything we’ve done since June 30.”
The deficit reduction plan should make note of changes since that time, Rubley said.
Rubley noted that 28 percent of the city’s revenue comes from state funds—a figure that varies with the economy.
“I would anticipate that number to go down,” he said. “With costs soaring and revenue decreasing, you’re going to have to really watch it carefully. These are tough times, very tough.”
Rubley was pleased with the condition of the two street funds, particularly the local street fund, the utilities fund and the internal service fund (DPW).
“All of them are in pretty good shape except the general fund,” he said. “That’s the hardest one to get revenue into.”
Rubley gave the city an “unqualified opinion,” the highest rating possible for accounting practices.
He gave council a list of nine comments for consideration, none of which were listed as significant deficiencies. One significant problem is labeled as segregation of duties.
He explained this by saying that no single individual should have control over two or more phases of a financial transaction or operation. Because of the layoff of Suzette Burk last May, the separation of duties between clerk and treasurer no longer exists.
“I’m not saying there’s a problem,” Rubley said. “There’s a potential for a problem. You’ll have to take a closer look at checks and balances.”
He added that he thinks controls are in place to avoid “material problems.”