Commonwealth Journal

Local News

March 13, 2014

Auditors: City needs more help closing its books

Overall financial health good

Somerset —

The City of Somerset’s 2012-2013 fiscal year audit was a relatively clean one. 
But auditors had a few concerns, requesting that more employees be hired to help close the books annually for the city, which has nearly $145 million in assets, and that city officials take into consideration their share of the state’s in-the-red pension fund. 
Jerry Hensley, with Ray, Foley, Hensley & Company, PLLC, presented the 58-page audit report to Somerset City Council during Monday’s meeting. Hensley led councilors and Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler through a short summary of the report, which featured detailed analyses of the city’s numerous funds — both business and governmental — and a report of the city’s overall financial health. 
Hensley said the city ended Fiscal Year 2013 (which was from July 2012 to June 2013) with $143,045,713 in total assets. That is an increase from its assets measured in the 2011-2012 fiscal year, at just a little over $130 million.
“That’s a pretty good-sized number, ya’ll,” Hensley told the council. 
Hensley noted that, for the third year in a row, his firm has recommended that the city hire more employees to help close the books at the end of every fiscal year. The city now hires an outside firm to help gather its financial information for the annual audits. 
“(This is) why we’re standing here in March instead of November,” Hensley told city councilors. “... Because of the size and complexity of what you do as a city, you can’t get your books closed out quick enough so we can get to do what we need to do and get it done in a timely fashion.”
Hensley said his firm would be able to present its report before the end of the calendar year — and not several months after that — if the city hires more people to deal with the complex budget. 

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